Tees Talk: A summer statement is a commitment to rebuild economy

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Tees business leaders have given their responses to chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer statement designed to kick-start the economy amid the ongoing impact of Covid…

Malcolm Knott, managing director, ITS, Middlesbrough

Having read through the latest government reports, my initial impression was very favourable. I think overall this government has done well in terms of employment support in the UK.

The new furloughed employee retention support for companies will be welcomed, I’m sure. Anything aimed at keeping people in work must be seen as beneficial. These are real people with families, not numbers on a balance sheet, and I’ve been encouraged by the government’s stance that keeping people in work is a key factor in their approach. As a company, it has been our approach too.

Keith Miller, managing director, Ecco Finishing Supplies, Middlesbrough

In these totally unprecedented times I think what Rishi Sunak is doing to help businesses and trying to kick start the economy is amazing. I understand that there will be casualties in all of this, but we have to work hard to make our own businesses survive and prosper.

We have to get back to work and make this happen, we have to work using the tools at our disposal, we have to consider everything to stop the spread of this virus, but we have to work – and we have to be positive. We have all suffered but we can all bounce back. It’s our 25th year at Ecco and we have overcome downturns and recessions before. We won’t let this virus beat us.

Trevor Cook, director, Baines Jewitt Chartered Accountants, Stockton

The chancellor’s statement focused firmly on the protection and creation of jobs, aiming to avoid a spike in unemployment in the coming months. The measures outline the government’s commitment to help rebuild the economy as we emerge from the coronavirus outbreak.

However, they are expected to cost a further £30bn and it remains to be seen how the huge debt carried by the UK is to be paid for in the long term. The chancellor will need to tackle this in the budget later this year, together with a sustainable strategy to bring on the economic transformation we need to see.

Emily Bentley, Bentley’s Coffee Shop, Coulby Newham, Middlesbrough

Although I haven’t had chance to examine the detail of Rishi Sunak’s summer statement as yet, from the headline facts it does look encouraging news for many sectors.

Personally, the reduction in VAT from 20 per cent to five will be a huge help to my family-run coffee shop business and will definitely be a helping hand in building the business back up as lockdown eases and trade gets back to a more normal level. There’s also meal vouchers announced. Again, I’ve not had chance to look at the detail, but these will also help those in the hospitality and food sectors to encourage customers back in.

Glenn Bartlett, managing director, Close Protection Security, Middlesbrough

Though the furlough scheme wasn’t something we used – we kept operating throughout lockdown – I applaud anything that will help retain jobs and also get our young people into work.

CPS have been considering taking on an apprentice, so the initiatives announced for that are brilliant. The reduction of VAT for the hospitality sector will hopefully help them. Above all, I feel that it shows the government’s willingness to work alongside us and not just throw us to the wolves.

Elaine McLaine-Wood, managing partner, Punch Robson Law, Ingleby Barwick

Focusing on the stamp duty land tax relief holiday that the chancellor announced, I consider it very welcome news to the legal sector, since it is a support and stimulus to the housing market.

Currently this is a time for upheaval in the lives of many we serve who need to move home for either economic, social and/or personal reasons. A reduction in the costs of moving by granting the holiday to support such people and to bring forward demand makes sense. It is also positive news where the volume of work has dropped, not just for law firms but agents and brokers too.

Mark Barlow, Logic Architecture, Middlesbrough

“We welcome the government’s proposals and understand the need to prioritise. I also agree that different sectors, such as leisure and tourism, need more help than others. I also welcome measures to encourage spend and growth in other sectors, such as construction in order that they can boost the economy.

The reference to “build back better, build back greener, build back faster” is exciting and timely, as is the suggestion of easing planning legislation to remove red tape and allow developments to happen quicker. The headline has certainly stimulated interest with new enquires coming through this week from investors looking for development opportunities in the North-East.