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‘Absolutely delighted’: Business leaders on Sunak’s statement

PUBLISHED: 17:05 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 17:29 08 July 2020

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak departs 11 Downing Street, in Westminster, London, to deliver a summer economic update at the Houses of Parliament. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 8, 2020. See PA story POLITICS Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak departs 11 Downing Street, in Westminster, London, to deliver a summer economic update at the Houses of Parliament. PA Photo. Picture date: Wednesday July 8, 2020. See PA story POLITICS Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Rishi Sunak’s budget is a public crowd pleaser, but what do our businesses make of it?

Andy Wood of Adnams.   Picture: AdnamsAndy Wood of Adnams. Picture: Adnams

We asked leaders from sectors including hospitality and training to see what they thought of the policies announced. 
• Eating out

The headline statement from Sunak’s announcement was the launch of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ initiative, which will see the government pick up half the bill for meals eaten out.

MORE: Government to pick up half the bill for meals eaten out in August

The move to stimulate the hospitality sector was bolstered by a reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% in the accommodation and attractions sector.

Michael Abbott, owner director of Pettitts Adventure Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMichael Abbott, owner director of Pettitts Adventure Park. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Dr Andy Wood, chief executive of brewery, hotel and restaurant group Adnams, said: “We like many others the hospitality and tourism sectors welcome the chancellor’s support in addressing the issues we and others face - these stimulus packages will make a significant difference in encouraging demand whilst also allowing businesses to plan for the future which is essential.

“Our estate of 46 pubs and hotels and wider business will benefit from a number of these initiatives which are helpful in encouraging people to come out and enjoy themselves whilst being confident in the measures that we are proud to have taken to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

“The details of these programmes will follow in time and we are keen to understand in detail how these will work in practice.”

• Training

The news about an increase in apprenticeships and skilled training opportunities was welcomed to some extent by the sector.

Rebecca White, chief executive and founder of Your Own Place - which supports young people in Norfolk to get into jobs and safe residence - said: “Any support in the training and apprenticeships sector is hugely appreciated.

“What we do have to consider though is that for SMEs the incentive of £1,000 to keep someone on is not enough when you’ve already got very tight margins. On top of this, although apprenticeships have proved successful we’re living in a very different world now.

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“What we also need is to see employers given the training to give insightful mentoring help to these people, as well as ensuring that the jobs aren’t just photocopying.

“The last thing - and I aprreciate this won’t have been in today’s announcement - is the additional support like affordable housing and mental health support. If a young person hasn’t got a safe bed to sleep in at night they’re not going to be getting up for training in the morning.”

• Tourism

Businesses in the visiting economy have said they are “absolutely delighted” with the measures announced by the chancellor.

“It’s brilliant news,” said Michael Abbott, owner of Pettit’s Adventure Park in Reedham. “It’s given me the extra capacity and confidence to push my business a bit further and do some things like considering promotion - which was previously out of the question. Although the VAT cut will have the biggest impact on us I also think the Eat Out scheme will also have a trickle-down effect, in both coastal areas and in the cities. I think the public will see that it’s safe to go out and it will build up confidence overall.”

He added: “I think the £1,000 for employers is enough. The government has done everything it can for the country and at some point businesses have to take the plunge and bring people back off furloguh. If I can offer any reassurance to people who haven’t opened yet it’s that I did it and it’s worked - we’re not at capacity but it’s enough for us to survive.”

• Jobs

The new measures introduced to get young people into well-paid and skilled jobs has been welcomed by 16 to 24-year-olds.

Georgia Laurie, 20, who lives near Diss said she thinks the scheme work placement scheme for young people will help to make them more employable in the long-run.

She said: “I think it’s easy to get a Saturday job around here when you’re a teenager.

“But to get specific experience for a job you want to do in the future is maybe not so easy. If you needed experience to get a job in engineering, the likelihood of getting that isn’t as high. It’s about getting you up to that next step.”

Miss Laurie has worked in a series of part-time roles through school and university - including at a bakery and supermarket.

She added: “I think this will probably help young people become more employable.”


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