Statement from Caroline Ansell MP regarding The Chancellor’s statement today.
I am delighted the VAT increase back to 20% has been postponed until 31st March next year and that Eastbourne’s hospitality and tourism sectors will be able to benefit from the existing 5% VAT until then.
This is something I have lobbied the Treasury to do, especially now we have stricter restrictions adversely affecting these sectors that are so important to our town.
I accept this is not a complete solution, and I really do understand the frustration around the 10pm curfew for those who run restaurants and pubs, but it will help a great deal and is good government.
I am also pleased the government will top up workers’ wages through the new Job Support Scheme if they can only work part-time in viable jobs.
It appears the criteria is more stringent for this scheme than for the furlough it replaces, especially because larger firms will need to prove they have been adversely affected by Covid. However, this is a flexible approach, again recognising that we have stricter rules now that were perhaps previously anticipated at the start of summer.
I also welcome that businesses, which deferred their VAT, can now split their payments into smaller amounts over a longer period rather than having to pay a lump sum at the end of March next year. Again, this is a sensible and flexible policy that will benefit many businesses in Eastbourne and Willingdon.
In addition, loan schemes to help struggling businesses and the self-employed have been extended.
These remain generous support structures to help as many people and businesses as possible.
It is also a move towards a more sustainable approach to the economic challenges we face from Covid. Just like the population, businesses will also have to live with this virus too.