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Stratford reacts to Chancellor's budget





The chancellor has unveiled more support for the hospitality and arts sectors, on which Stratford heavily relies, within today’s budget.

Budget 2020 logo thumbnail (44821570)
Budget 2020 logo thumbnail (44821570)

An extra £700million will be made available to support arts, culture and sport organisations to restart when restrictions allow, while hospitality businesses will be given access to restart grants of up to £18,000.

Elsewhere big announcements include the extension of the furlough scheme to September, along with extending the £20 uplift in Universal Credit, a move Stratford Foodbank has been calling for.

The cut in VAT to 5 per cent for hospitality businesses will continue until September, while restart grants of up to £6,000 will be available to retail businesses,

The land searches department at Stratford District Council may be breathing a sigh of relief too with the extension of the stamp duty holiday extended until September, avoiding a potential rush of land search requests this month.

Foodbank manager Marion Homer said: “Extending the universal credit uplift makes complete sense to us, we’ve still not seen the full effect of lockdown and the pandemic on our local economy, lots of people are still coming to us. Hopefully this action will mean less people have to seek our help."

Marion Homer (44821659)
Marion Homer (44821659)

Tony Jefferson, leader of Stratford District Council said: "There's a lot in there that will really help Stratford, I'm really positive about this budget. We'll have to see the details but the £700million in funding for the arts could really help locally as will extension of the VAT cut for hospitality busineses, the business rates holiday, I think it's been done very well."

Tony Jefferson (44822232)
Tony Jefferson (44822232)

Joe Baconnet, director of Stratforward BID, said: "From the initial stuff it looks like Stratford could do well out of this, we've still got to see all the detail, but the principle of continued support is certainly welcome.The VAT cut extension for hospitality businesses could make a big difference as is the news on business rates."

Joe Baconnet (44824243)
Joe Baconnet (44824243)

On the tourism front, Helen Peters, chief executive of Shakespeare's England, said: "We are pleased that the Chancellor heard the tourism industry’s call for an extension of the furlough scheme, business rates relief and continued reduction in VAT and we welcome the announcements on these.

Helen Peters (44824301)
Helen Peters (44824301)

“However, there is still a big question on exactly when hospitality will be able to fully reopen, the Road Map gives ‘earliest possible dates’ should these slip then extensions to June and September may well not be enough and having been closed for so long the Industry really needs a guarantee of ongoing support until at least December 31, 2021.”

Tim Cooke (44850055)
Tim Cooke (44850055)

Tim Cooke, Chief Executive of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust: "We welcome the Government's further commitment to supporting the cultural sector and will be reviewing the details as they emerge to assess if any of the new funding is applicable to the Trust.

Given the significant loss of trading income as a result of the pandemic, we continue to explore numerous avenues to support our charitable purpose around the preservation and conservation of the Shakespearian heritage in Stratford-upon-Avon, our internationally-important Shakespeare and local collections, and our learning and outreach programmes."



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