Suffolk Chamber's statement on the Roadmap and Budget
“Suffolk Chamber of Commerce broadly understands the Government’s cautious stepped approach to re-opening our society and economy, as nobody wants a return to a full lockdown ever again.
“We also commend the Government’s openness in setting out the four conditions which need to be met before each step can go ahead.
“However, this plan is only part of the solution, with next week’s Budget being absolutely crucial in determining the future viability of thousands of local businesses, many of whose cashflow situations have seriously declined over the last few months.
“That is why we are looking to the Chancellor to ensure that no additional taxes or other burdens are placed upon the business community for many years to come. Specifically, we would like to see an extension and expansion in the 100% business rates relief scheme, an immediate, further round of upfront cash grant support – at least equivalent to the £25,000 available in the first national lockdown, an extension to the deferral on VAT until at least the end of 2021 and enhancements to the current Government lending schemes.
“To protect livelihoods, we are advocating an extension to the Job Retention and Self-Employed Income Support Schemes at least until a full reopening of the economy is possible and at least until the end of July 2021, as well as an expansion in income protection support for directors of limited companies.
“We are also advocating for a New Deal for Business to lock in a long-term economic renewal centred around national growth sectors and sustained training and development support for all workers. In Suffolk we are, therefore, asking for clear Government backing for Sizewell C, the Freeport East initiative, an upgrade in the A14 across the county and for the eastern section of the East-West rail link from Cambridge to Ipswich, plus more agility in the further education system so that the skills needs of business are being met in a way that suits both them and their workforces.”