Marches Local Partnership chair Mandy Thorn MBE said the post-pandemic support package unveiled by the Chancellor in his Budget would come as welcome news to many businesses across the region.
She said extra help for the tourism and hospitality sector – including Restart Grants of up to £18,000 per premises – and the extension of wider Covid support programmes such as the furlough scheme were much needed.
Mrs Thorn also welcomed additional help for the self-employed and companies planning to take on apprentices, as well as the extension of the business rates holiday and VAT reductions.
But she warned that tax increases which focused on businesses and entrepreneurs could stifle the recovery before it had begun.
“There are a number of measures of support for the business community which will be welcomed across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin today,” she said.
“The impact of the pandemic on our hospitality and tourism sectors has been particularly savage, and we are grateful that this has been recognised at least in part in today’s Budget.
“The 130 per cent ‘super deduction’ in tax for companies which invest in innovation also sounds promising.
“But some of the changes in the national tax structure announced today will also cause some concern amongst businesses. Increasing Corporation Tax – even with the exemption for companies making less than £50,000 and the full rate only kicking in on £250,000 profits – could have a dampening effect on the very things which drive economic growth.
“Our economy is fragile and we need to support small businesses, celebrate their successes and create the conditions for further growth and expansion, rather than increasing the amount we tax them on their profits.
“The Marches LEP has been working alongside our entire business community and our partners to draw up a recovery plan for this region and we are determined that this will seek to create the long-term conditions for a sustainable and prosperous future.
“It is in all our interests to find a longer-term fix to the UK’s national debt rather than burden businesses or individuals.”