Northampton business community welcomes Budget measures to alleviate coronavirus impact

MP describes measures as 'laying the foundations of the UK’s future prosperity'
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Northampton businesses welcomed the measures to alleviate the affects of the coronavirus outbreak announced in the Budget but remain concerned.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed a raft of schemes for small and medium-size firms such as a refund for sick pay, 'business interruption' loans and abolishing business rates for some.

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Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Paul Griffiths said: “There are things to welcome in this budget for the business community in Northamptonshire.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Photo: Getty ImagesChancellor Rishi Sunak. Photo: Getty Images
Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Photo: Getty Images

“Along with our colleagues at the British Chambers of Commerce, we have called on the chancellor for support to help firms overcome cash flow challenges posed by coronarvirus and he has responded to this.

“While short-term business rates relief for many thousands is to be welcome, larger firms will have to wait until the autumn for a further review of Britain’s business rates system.

"This review must lead to real action to reduce high upfront costs across the board.

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“The budget has addressed the immediate challenges facing our economy but the government must do more to help firms as they navigate changes to trading arrangements and the end of the Brexit transition period.”

Jonathan Williams, who runs independent menswear shop Montague Jeffery, is one of the many companies who will not have to pay business rates for a year under the new scheme.

He said that saving will help him as fewer people are spending money in light of the covid-19 pandemic and staff may have to be off work.

"The Budget seems very good in terms of the coronavirus at the moment - Northampton is very, very quiet so in that respect it will be helpful," he said.

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"The measures for coronavirus are welcome - I don't know how it will pan out with staff being off, we will have to wait and see."

Northampton North MP Michael Ellis described the Budget as 'laying the foundations of the UK’s future prosperity and delivers on the government’s promises to the British people'.

The Conservative politician backed the increases in the National Insurance threshold and the National Living Wage, pothole funding, rail projects and tree-planting.

"This is the beginning of record levels of investment in our national priorities - infrastructure, the NHS and public services – to ensure the promises in the General Election are kept and the potential of every part of the United Kingdom is unleashed," he said.

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On potholes, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for highways and place, Jason Smithers, supported the extra money.

“We will need to see just how this money can be used and how much will be available here in Northamptonshire," he said.