Responding to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget, the managing director of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Martin Hathaway, said:  

“The Chancellor’s budget is a realistic and comprehensive plan and I am pleased to see a strong focus on skills, small businesses and energy.  

“But I worry that business uncertainty will remain with a recession and global factors outside of Government control.  

“Energy costs were the top priority for many at today’s budget and Mr Hunt’s windfall tax increases, extension of the energy price guarantee and bringing forward of targeted support for businesses beyond April, will go some way towards curbing the spiralling costs – but could more be done?  

“I look forward to hearing more from Government about how we can drive forward longer-term sustainable changes to safeguard our future energy supplies.  

“I was glad to hear education feature so prominently in the budget and I thoroughly support the rise in education funding to raise the skill levels of school leavers across the country. 

“Here at the Mid Yorkshire Chamber, we are firm believers in the power of education and upskilling, and we are glad that the Cabinet shares this vision.  

“It is encouraging to see the Chancellor stand behind our small businesses, which are often the backbone of towns and cities across the region, and support them with tax cuts over the next five years. 

“It is great to see a particular focus on supporting pubs, restaurants and small high street shops, which are businesses that have suffered significantly as a result of the pandemic.  

“It was reassuring to see Levelling Up, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail on the agenda but am keen to see progress made.  

“We have been talking about levelling up our region at many budget announcements, but now it is time for action.  

“We need a clear, actionable plan for what levelling up looks like in our region, and others that have been promised this across the nation.”