Businesses in the East "cautiously optimistic" over the Chancellor's Budget

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Elodie Harper

Businesses across the East of England have been reacting to the Chancellor's Budget speech.

The Chancellor said "he'll do whatever it takes to fix the economy", focusing on helping business and protecting jobs.

Cautiously optimistic with it, there were several bits that would apply to us as a business, happy about the apprenticeship benefits, happy about the VAT thresholds for hospitality being kept down, happy with the rates holiday for the business rates being extended.

Chris Keen, Owner of InflataBounce

  • The furlough scheme will be extended until the end of September, with employers starting to make contributions from July.

  • Some of the businesses hardest hit by the pandemic such as shops, restaurants, gyms and hair salons can apply for a cash grant up to £18,000 from a pot of £5 billion designed to help them reopen.

  • Community groups will also be able to apply for up to a quarter of a million pounds to take over struggling pubs, sports clubs or venues in their local area.

  • The stamp duty holiday in England will be extended until June and there'll also be a new mortgage guarantee scheme to encourage lenders to accept 5% deposits. 

  • The £20-per-week increase in Universal credit will be kept for another six months. 

  • Income tax rates will be frozen, but businesses will see a rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% in 2023. 

  • There will also be a freeze in beer and fuel duty and the limit on contactless card payments will increase to £100.

The support for the hospitality sector was welcomed by the owner of the Palm Court Hotel in Great Yarmouth.

The hotel has been in Jason Delf's family for three generations and he was worried he might be the last because of the pandemic. But the support in today's budget has given him some hope.

If you'd ask me to write the budget, I'd have probably written what he's done so far for us. We can now move on, we can get the business back to how it should be - that's what we want to do.

Jason Delf, Director, Palm Court Hotel
  • Watch Rob Setchell's report from Great Yarmouth on how businesses there are reacting to today's budget.

The ports of Felixstowe and Harwich will be known as Freeport East Credit: ITV News Anglia

Other announcements include the introduction of 'Freeports' with the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich revealed as new locations, to be called Freeport East.

Freeports are special economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business.