Budget reaction

March 3, 2021

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.

Mandy Thorn Headshot

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.”

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: www.marchesgrowthhub.co.uk | email: enquiries@marchesgrowthhub.co.uk.

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: www.marchescareershub.co.uk | email: info@marchescareershub.co.uk

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact: gary.spence@shropshire.gov.uk

For any finance queries please contact: michelle.hodgkiss@shropshire.gov.uk

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact: Camilla.Mulholland@evelyn.com

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