Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak unveiled his first Budget for 2021 yesterday.
For those somewhat unfamiliar with the term and why its bi-annual unveiling often carries such significance for the country, the Budget – which is formally known as the Financial Statement – is a statement made to the House of Commons by the Chancellor twice a year.
Yesterday’s statement outlined the current state of the economy in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and gave the government’s proposals for changes to taxation in the upcoming period.
The Chancellor also made forecasts for the economy by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).
As is to be expected after many businesses have only been permitted to trade for a few months, or have remained closed entirely, since Britain was first forced into lockdown last March, and with an ‘irreversible’ roadmap to reopen the economy now published, millions had been speculating as to whether financial support will remain available – and how the country will get back on its feet.
So, there was a lot to unpack after yesterday’s announcement.
If you’re looking for a round-up of everything Mr Sunak said, then we’ve covered that in full here, but now that the dust has settled the morning after, how do Greater Manchester’s leaders, MPs, and prominent figures feel about the measures unveiled during the announcement?
What positives have they picked out, what criticisms have been highlighted, and how do they feel about the upcoming year ahead?
Here’s everything we know so far.
Mayor of Greater Manchester
Speaking in his weekly online press conference yesterday afternoon, Mr Burnham – Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester – provided his take on the Budget announcement by first saying that he “would describe it as a packet of Polos – in some ways refreshing, but also full of holes”.
He then welcomed the announcement on support for self-employed people and the extension of furlough, among others, but then went on to acknowledge that many people have “not had their plight recognised” in the Budget and remain excluded from public support.
He said: “In Greater Manchester terms, we estimate that 100,000 people are still in the category of excluded from public support.”
“That’s a lot of people struggling.”
Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser, and co-founder of Warehouse Project and Parklife
Following several early reports emerging ahead of the Chancellor’s Budget unveiling yesterday, and in light of the “landmark victory for hospitality” where it was announced that the government intends to drop the ‘substantial meal’ clause from its roadmap, thanks directly to his legal challenge, Sacha Lord earlier admitted on Twitter that the announcement “could be the biggest announcement for hospitality and events in our lifetime”.
He also said it would be “make or break for many who have managed to make it this far”.
In response to the announcement, Mr Lord initially said that yesterday’s Budget is “very welcome and supportive for hospitality across the UK” and added that operators in the region’s hospitality sector would be “waking up with renewed hope”.
But then raised a concerns surrounding additional help that will be needed for freelance workers going forward and also questioned why “we still don’t have a government-backed COVID indemnity insurance policy for events”, saying that this is “critical” and that he will “continue to drive this through”.
You can further comment from Mr Lord on the 2021 Budget announcement via Twitter here.
You can also find a brief run down of the announcements in the Budget related to the local Night Time Economy sector via the Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Office Twitter thread here.
Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GMLEP)
Also speaking live at Mayor Andy Burnham’s virtual press conference yesterday afternoon, Lou Cordwell – Chair of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GMLEP) – offered her stance on the Budget announcement, starting by saying: “It’s good to see support for those sectors that have suffered the most [and] the extension of the furlough scheme is incredibly welcome”, and that she was “delighted” with the news that Liverpool City Region – which also includes Port Salford – had been successful in its Freeport bid.
“There is a strong sense of collaboration across our city-regions, and it’s a great example of pan-North West collaboration.” she added.
She also addressed the issue of Corporation Tax, and said: “The big area that we hoped to see more on is around the importance of research and innovation in the economy, and particularly in green, which is going to play an important part in our economy in the coming years.”
Director of Policy and Communications at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC)
First taking to Twitter to give his initial response to the Chancellor’s Budget announcement yesterday afternoon, Christ Fletcher – Director of Policy and Communications at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) – said it was “time [for me] to hit the red book for the details” and gave his initial impression as “decent at short term offsetting COVID impact, but feels a bit lacklustre longer term”.
He then later stated in full: “There was an awful lot riding on the content of today’s Budget, especially for those businesses still struggling with the impact of COVID, such as the hospitality and tourism sectors [and] the first part of the Chancellor’s speech would have given them and others some comfort with the expected extension of the furlough scheme to June then a tapering off until September, supporting this are new rounds of grant monies and business rate reductions.
“The phasing of VAT will also bring some relief [and] alongside new measures to help businesses recruit and re-open in the short term, this all seems positive, although there are still a huge number of business owners excluded from government support”.
“As we approach the first anniversary of lockdown, this is far from acceptable.” he added.
You can full comment from Mr Fletcher on behalf of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) regarding the 2021 Budget announcement here.
Greater Manchester MPs
A round-up of social media reaction to the Budget 2021 announcement by a number of MPs across Greater Manchester’s constituancies.
Lucy Powell – Labour MP for Manchester Central
Barbara Keeley – Labour MP for Worsley and Eccles South
Rebecca Long-Bailey – Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton
Navendu Mishra – Labour MP for Stockport
Andrew Gwynne – Labour MP for Denton and Reddish
Mary Robinson – Conservative MP for Cheadle
William Wragg – Conservative MP for Hazel Grove
Afzal Khan – Labour MP for Gorton
Jeff Smith – Labour MP for Withington
Lisa Nandy – Labour MP for Wigan
James Grundy – Conservative MP for Leigh
James Daly – Conservative MP for Bury North
Christian Wakeford – Conservative MP for Bury South
Yasmin Quereshi – Labour MP for Bolton South East
Tony Lloyd – Labour MP for Rochdale
Angela Rayner – Labour MP for Ashton-under-Lyne
Debbie Abrahams – Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth
Jim McMahon – Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton
Jonathon Reynolds – Labour MP for Stalybridge, Hyde, Mossley, Longdendale & Dukinfield
Kate Green – Labour MP for Stretford and Urmston
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.