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Businesses should not have to wait until Spring Budget to be given certainty - MP

February 24, 2021 6:40 PM

On the floor of the House of Commons this week, South Lakes MP Tim Farron warned ministers that delaying measures to support local businesses until next week's Spring Budget risks many firms going to the wall.

Speaking during a general debate on COVID-19 in Parliament, Tim said: "My constituency has the highest proportion of its workforce on furlough of any constituency in the entire United Kingdom.

"There has been a sixfold increase in unemployment, and it is obvious why. It is because hospitality and tourism is comfortably our biggest employer. We have the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and vast swathes of Cumbria so beautiful that they could not find a national park to put them in.

"For the people working in those sectors, the reality is that many businesses have gone to the wall already.

"I urge the Government to do four things: first, to extend the business rates holiday; secondly, to extend the VAT cut; thirdly, to extend furlough and to say they are going to do it right now, not delaying it until the Budget next week, because that confidence is what businesses lack, and that is what is pushing so many of them to the wall; and fourthly and finally, a specific grant package to deal with the simple fact that without any income or any savings now many businesses, though they can see the light at the end of the tunnel, might not make it to the end of the tunnel."

Responding, the Cabinet Office minister Penny Mordaunt said: "I encourage colleagues to lobby the Chancellor heavily, and we will not have long to wait to hear about that additional support."