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  • Writer's pictureSouthend BID

Support for the year ahead

w/c 1st March 2021

A few weeks ago we detailed how the Chair of Southend BID wrote to MP James Duddridge to seek his support in urging the Chancellor to extend the reduced VAT rate and business rates holiday. We were therefore clearly pleased on Wednesday to hear that the Government’s 2021 Budget will be doing just that, and more, to continue supporting our businesses.

The VAT rate for select firms will continue to be reduced for the upcoming year, initially continuing at 5% for six months followed by a 12.5% rate for the last six months. Doing so will allow businesses to make vital savings on supplies or pass on these savings in their pricing to encourage customers back again.

Business rates relief will also continue for eligible businesses with no charges until June and then the remainder of the year to be subject to a discount of two thirds. This will free up vital funds for businesses to invest in their operations, in staff, in new products or marketing, or in simply just surviving.

The furlough scheme is also being extended until September 2021 which will be a relief to many owners and staff alike. As businesses continue to be constrained by safety and social distancing restrictions, this will enable staff to be kept on the payroll and in a job throughout a time when premises are still unable to operate at full capacity.

Another key support measure introduced is the restart scheme which will see eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses receiving a one off grant of up to £18,000. This final grant is aimed to assist businesses to ‘reopen and get going again’, permanently this time.

These are just a snippet of the measures that have been announced to protect jobs and businesses. We are reassured to see that the Government is recognising the continued challenges that will be faced in the upcoming year and consequently providing the support that our business communities need to rebuild and thrive once more.


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