'Huge disappointment' on high street as businesses reacts to Budget

One business owner says says Rishi Sunak did not recognise just how hard the high streets have been hit during the pandemic. Credit: PA Images

The owner of a Wakefield hair salon, which has been in business for more than 25 years, says the Chancellor's Budget announcement does not go far enough, following a "roller-coaster" few years.

Marcello Moccia, who runs Room 97 in Trinity Walk, says Rishi Sunak did not recognise just how hard the high streets have been hit during the pandemic.

Tania Howe, who owns a candle shop, says she is still trying to build her business back to pre-lockdown levels. While she welcomes the cut in business rates, she says many will continue to struggle.

Tania Howe owns a candle shop in Wakefield

How will the Budget affect the Calendar region?

As part of his spending review, £830 million will be allocated to West Yorkshire and £570 million to South Yorkshire over five years to transform local transport networks. This will cover schemes such as A61 improvements for buses, cyclists and pedestrians between Leeds and Wakefield and the renewal of the Sheffield Supertram.

People will also benefit from £31 million in investment through the Transforming Cities Fund to improve stations and walking and cycling access in Selby, Skipton and Harrogate.

A further £187 million has been allocated to the following projects in the region:

  • Building a major waterfront extension in Doncaster

  • The long-awaited refurbishment of Halifax Swimming Pool

  • Creating new hospitality and visitor centres at Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham

  • Finishing the Culture and Leisure Quarter in Rotherham Town Centre

  • Improving transport connections across West Leeds

  • Converting a derelict site in Wakefield into a new museum and gallery

  • Delivering the long-planned Centre for Child Health Technology in Attercliffe

  • Regenerating Whitefriargate and Albion Square in Hull City Centre

  • Developing Squire Lane Leisure, Wellbeing and Enterprise Centre in Bradford

  • Regenerating Castlegate Quarter in Sheffield

While welcoming much of this investment, The Mayor of West Yorkshire, Tracy Brabin, says it is "only part of the answer".

She also criticised the lack of priority given to the Climate Emergency in today's speech.

"We need to invest now to move our economy towards Net Zero, supporting business, homes, and communities to make the transition to a new way of living", she said.

"At COP26 I hope to hear more solid commitments to change: to delay action will only make the bill bigger and our task harder in future."

On the term "levelling up", used half a dozen times by the Chancellor, the Mayor says this cannot just be about transport, and needs to be more focused on people.

  • Video report by ITV Calendar's Jon Hill

Other announcements for Yorkshire and the Humber include:

  • £171 million of local roads maintenance funding between 2022-23 and 2024-25 and over £33 million for smaller transport improvement priorities through the Integrated Transport Block to Local Authorities in Yorkshire and the Humber not receiving City region settlements;

  • £16 million for the Northern Forest to support new woodland creation;

  • £390,000 towards the regeneration of the Beech Hill estate in Halifax, Calderdale, from the £14 million estates regeneration share of the Brownfield Land Release Fund;

  • Up to £50,000 each through the Restore Your Railway ‘Ideas Fund’ to develop three early-stage proposals to reinstate passenger rail links between Beverley and York, Stocksbridge and Sheffield Victoria (Don Valley Line) and on the Askern Branch Line; and

  • £77 million for the redevelopment of the British Library Boston Spa.