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Budget - Darren Jones, BEIS Committee Chair, comments on Budget

3 March 2021

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has commented on today’s Budget.

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee Chair, Darren Jones, said:

"The Chancellor’s extension of furlough, the business rate holiday, and on lower VAT rates is welcome. However, the Chancellor appears to have missed the opportunity in today’s Budget to fill alarming gaps in support which continue to unfairly affect certain workers and businesses, including women who have recently taken parental leave and a significant number of self-employed workers who continue to be ignored.

There was little in this Budget to speak to the foundational issues changing the British economy, from post-Brexit transition to our net zero transition. The jobs, skills and training programmes are welcome, but their scale does not seem to match the unemployment challenge faced in our country. The issue of finding a resolution to the issue of commercial rents also seems to have been kicked down the road, risking the prospects of many ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses.

The announcement of a National Infrastructure Bank is welcome but the sad reality is that climate change and net-zero were barely mentioned in today’s Budget and major policies such as the Green Homes Grant seem to have been cancelled altogether.

The Budget appears to signal a rejection by the Chancellor of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. In the year of the UK’s COP26 Presidency, this does not deliver the domestic leadership necessary to make the climate summit a success nor does it signal the required ambition on decarbonisation and green jobs needed in the decades ahead.

We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to tackling fraud in the packages of financial support provided through Covid but once again call on the Government to be transparent about which companies received what financial support so that full scrutiny can take place in Parliament."

Last week, the BEIS Committee in an interim pre-budget report on The impact of Coronavirus on businesses and workers, called on the Chancellor to use the Budget to address gaps in financial support, affecting the self-employed, mothers who have recently taken maternity leave, and those working in sectors such as the creative industries. The report made a series of recommendations to plug gaps in support, review arbitrary exclusions, and refine the Government’s support so it is targeted at those most in need.

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