‘An important shot in the arm’

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The business sector has welcomed the Government’s latest raft of measures to support businesses and the economy as the pandemic continues.

British Chambers of Commerce director general, Adam Marshall, said the Chancellor’s announcement yesterday would deliver an “important shot in the arm”.

He said: “Chambers of Commerce have consistently called for a new generation of support to help protect livelihoods and ease the cash pressures faced by firms as they head into a challenging and uncertain winter.

“The Chancellor has responded to our concerns with substantial steps that will help companies preserve jobs and navigate through the coming months. The new Jobs Support Scheme will help many companies hold on to valued, skilled employees. Businesses will be eager to see the detail and consider whether and how they will be able to use the scheme.

“The Chancellor has listened to our consistent calls for an extension of business lending schemes, more flexible repayment terms for loans, and tax forbearance measures. With almost 40% of our firms saying they have three months cash in reserve or less, this will lessen the immediate pressure and provide reassurance for many affected firms at a challenging time.

“The Chancellor must remain open to taking additional action to support parts of the economy facing unprecedented challenges over the months ahead. Chambers of Commerce across the UK will continue to work with government to ensure the benefits of these schemes are delivered to firms on the ground.”

Mark Duddridge, chair of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, was also broadly positive.

He said: “We’ve been urging the Government for months to avoid the furlough cliff edge with a new job support scheme and help for businesses and the self-employed through the winter, and while we welcome today’s package there will still be many viable businesses who don’t have enough work to bring people back part-time and those jobs will be lost.

“The extension of the 15% VAT cut to March next year for hospitality and tourism businesses is good news and will help a vital sector of our economy that has been hugely impacted, and more flexibility on coronavirus loans and deferred VAT repayments will help many businesses with their cashflow.

“This is a welcome short-term package and we look forward to working with Government on longer-term recovery measures that can deliver its promised levelling up agenda to the people of Cornwall and Scilly.”

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