Transport, urban regeneration and culture are set to benefit as Chamber of Commerce welcomes ‘most’ of what Chancellor had to say

The MP for Hastings and Rye, Sally-Ann Hart, has welcomed the announcement in the Chancellor’s Budget yesterday that Hastings and Rother local authorities will both receive a fund of £125,000 each to scope out possible infrastructure projects, as part of the Levelling Up Fund.

She says: “I am thrilled that both Hastings and Rother are in category one of the Levelling Up Fund, meaning both local authorities will be receiving £125,000 each to plan for local infrastructure improvements. This is great news for our area and proves that the hard work we have put in to ensure our area is included in the Government’s Levelling Up agenda has worked.”

Hastings and Rye MO Sally-Ann Hart.

The Levelling Up Fund will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities. This includes a range of high value local investment priorities, including local transport schemes, urban regeneration projects and cultural assets. The Fund is jointly managed by HM Treasury (HMT), the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Transport (DfT). This cross-departmental fund represents what has been described as ‘a new approach’ to local investment and will end Whitehall systems that have traditionally made it difficult to take a holistic approach to the infrastructure needs of local areas.

“I look forward to working closely with the local authorities on the list of priority schemes they come forward with and to supporting one of these as part of the bids for the funding in the future. We should be pleased that we have been included in this fund as it has the potential to contribute to the turbo- charging our local economy and driving forward growth and investment in our area,” said Sally-Ann.

Hastings Borough Council says: “We are currently analysing the statements and policies announced by the Chancellor yesterday,” the council says it, “hopes” to issue a comment next week.

Following yesterday’s Budget Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce says it welcomes ‘most’ of the Chancellor’s announcements: “…especially those that particularly help the economy of Hastings and the hardest hit sectors of hospitality, tourism and non-essential retail.”

A spokesman says: “We are particularly pleased to see he listened and responded to the majority of our lobbying calls.”

This included announcements on:

  • Extensions to the Furlough scheme
  • Five per cent VAT for hospitality and tourism sectors and Business Rates Relief
  • The widening of grants scheme eligibility to include recent start-ups and the introduction of Restart Grants
  • The effective extension of Government Loan Guarantee Schemes with the introduction of a new Recovery Loan Guarantee Scheme.

“We would like to pass on out thanks to Sally-Ann Hart, MP and Hastings Borough Council for supporting our lobbying requests and feeding these through to the Government.

“We remain concerned, however, that our calls for the following were ignored:

  • Grants for affected businesses with rateable value over £51,000
  • Business rates relief was not maintained at 100 per cent for businesses that have had to close their premises until September
  • Directors of Limited companies and others, such as freelancers, who continue to miss out on support.

“We will continue to lobby for those that fall between the cracks and miss out on vital support to help them survive and rebuild,” the spokesman said. 
 
If you have any comments on the budget or continue to miss out on vital support then the chamber asks that you get in touch so that it can continue to feedback to local and central Government you should email info@hastingschamber.co.uk

Budget Headlines:

  • The Furlough scheme has been extended until the end of September.
  • Support for the self-employed will continue with a fourth grant covering February to April, and a fifth grant from May.  600,000 more people, many of whom became self-employed last year, can now claim the fourth and fifth grant.
  • Restart grants will be available from April:
    • Non essential retail to receive grants of up to £6k
    • Hospitality and leisure will receive grants of up to £18k
  • 100 per cent business rates holiday until the end of June and the remainder of the year will be 2/3 up to a value of £2m per business
  • New Recovery Loan Scheme from £25k – £10m
  • Five per cent reduced rate of VAT for hard hit sectors
  • Councils will also be awarded funding for further discretionary grant funding
  • Doubling the incentive payments for businesses taking on new start apprentices at any age to £3,000.
  • Duty on Fuel, Beer, Wine and Spirits frozen for a further year
  • £300m Culture recovery fund for arts, culture and sporting sector.

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