THE HAMPSHIRE Chamber of Commerce, the county's independent business network, has welcomed the government's further economic steps to support businesses, announced last week by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Chief Executive Ross McNally said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s plan to protect jobs as the furlough scheme comes to an end.

“In particular, theThe new jobs support scheme will mean that many people can be paid for shorter hours, still doing worthwhile and viable jobs, rather than face immediate redundancy. Businesses can now make decisions in the light of a clear structure of support to get them through to next summer. They

"Businesses will still have to make some tough choices but the steps he has announced on job support, tax deferrals and the extension of government-backed loans will provide much needed relief. He is right to focus on helping businesses with cashflow.

“We also welcome his targeted support on VAT for our culture, tourism and leisure sectors by maintaining the lower 5 per cent rate until March rather than ending it in January as had been the plan. This will buy precious time."

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, September 24, Rishi Sunak told MPs: “The resurgence of the virus, and the measures we need to take in response, pose a threat to our fragile economic recovery.

“The sources of our economic growth and the kinds of jobs we create will have to adapt to the new normal."

The measures announced include:

  • The temporary 15 per cent VAT cut for tourism and hospitality will be extended until the end of March.
  • A new payment scheme will give more breathing space for more than £30 billion of deferred VAT payments, allowing them to make 11 interest-free payments in 2021-22 rather than a lump sum at the end of March.
  • A “pay as you grow” measure will extend the repayment terms for bounceback loans from six to 10 years.
  • Firms which have taken out coronavirus business interruption loans will see the Government guarantee extended for up to 10 years.
  • All loan schemes will be extended until the end of the year.

“Today’s measures mark an important evolution in our approach, our lives can no longer be put on hold,” said the Mr Sunak.