Responding to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Budget, the managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Martin Hathaway, said: “I would like to commend the Government’s announcement of further childcare funding. This initiative has the potential to drive economic growth across our regions of Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield and the wider UK by enabling more parents to participate in the workforce. 

“By easing the financial burden of childcare, along with prolonged energy bill support, we are unlocking a valuable talent pool that businesses across the region can tap into. This will create a ripple effect that will benefit not only our local communities but also the national economy. 

“This is an opportune moment for businesses to expand their workforces by considering candidates who previously may not have been able to commit to full-time or part-time work due to the high cost of childcare. These individuals bring with them diverse skills, experiences and perspectives that can enrich organisations and contribute to growth. 

“As a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIPs) provider, skills and employment are high on my agenda. The Chancellor’s announcements of reform and increased funding across disability benefits, mental health and musculoskeletal support, SME occupational health, and the Supportive Internship Programme is very welcome to help us support people into work and to stay in work, as well as a robust sounding plan to support over 50s who wish to return to work, to return to work.  

“What is very welcome is the removal of the pension contribution limit which will certainly help to keep more people into work.  

“The corporation tax rise that was announced by Rishi Sunak when he was Chancellor will still go ahead but I welcome the further business support that will also come into play. This includes enhanced R&D tax credits, full capital expensing and a range of measures to reduce energy costs. We cannot however underestimate the impact that this rise will have on many businesses who are still suffering as a result of Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis, namely our hospitality, travel and leisure sectors.  

“While levelling up did get a significant mention in today’s budget, I would like more detail on how exactly this £400m package of support and the investment zones for the north can be accessed. We need action on levelling up. 

“We have talked about it in many budgets since the term was coined but I hope that Mr Hunt can actually start to move this programme forward with the support of his dedicated Secretary of State, Michael Gove.  

“I was disappointed that transport did not appear a top priority for the Chancellor today. Here in Yorkshire, and across the north, we have suffered with inadequate transport links for many years, made worse by the ongoing strike action.  

“I urge the Chancellor to place a higher focus on transport in our areas to bring it up to speed with the capital and other global infrastructure leaders. Enough is enough.”