Following yesterday’s budget announcement, Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely shared his response. In his own words. Ed
I welcome Rishi’s Budget Statement.
Many Islanders and Island businesses will be supported by the extensive measures announced by the Chancellor. The Government has recently set out a road map to gradually lift lockdown, and this Budget Statement has set out strong measures to get our economy back on track.
Extension of the Furlough scheme
Firstly, the budget will support both employed and self-employed Islanders. The extension of the Furlough scheme to September, three months after a full lift of lockdown, gives businesses time to recover and bring Islanders back into work.
The Government is also providing additional support for entrepreneurs, providing two further grants that would also benefit those who became self-employed last year.
National living wage – £8.91 per hour
The increase in National living wage to £8.91 will give working families a rise in disposable income, worth almost £350 a year.
Islanders will also be supported when purchasing homes. The Government has extended the stamp duty holiday for a further three months to allow for those completing purchases to finish on time.
Additionally, it is also providing a mortgage guarantee to encourage banks to provide mortgages with a 5% deposit helping first time buyers.
Support for businesses
We’ve set out extensive support for tourism and hospitality businesses. The 5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality and tourism has extended for a further six months to the end of September and will then be 12.5% for the next six months.
Secondly, the government will provide reopening grants to businesses of up to £18,000 to restart after lockdown.
Thirdly, the 100% business rates holiday will continue until June and then at a 66% reduction for the rest of the year.
I very much welcome the announcement of a freeport in the Solent region, covering much of the Isle of Wight, and for which I have been pressing Government.
The Solent Freeport will be critical especially after the pandemic as it will increase investment and businesses on the Island through lower taxes and cheaper customs.
Arts and culture
Festivals and Arts are a key part of Island life, the £700m provided by the government should allow for arts and culture to resume.
This isn’t just important for the Island’s economy, but also our quality of life and mental health too.
Community Ownership Fund
I welcome the £150 million Community Ownership Fund. These funds will support our local leisure facilities and businesses that bind our communities together.
I will be working closely with the council to bid for the Levelling Up and Shared Prosperity Funds that can deliver transformational change to parts of the Island through regeneration.
A sense of hope
With a clear strategy now in place to lift lockdown and the Covid-19 vaccinations well under way, I believe that we can look forward to the rest of this year with a sense of hope.
I will continue to work with both local and national government to get the best deal for the Island.