The Chancellor presented his Spring Budget earlier this week which provides billions of pounds to support businesses and families through the coronavirus pandemic. It delivers on the Conservatives’ promises it has made to the British people and invests in the UK’s future economy.
Security and stability for the British people is in place with £407 billion of support for families, jobs and businesses over this year and next. Furlough has been extended, two further grants for the self-employed, a six-month extension to the Universal Credit uplift, and new grants and loans for businesses have all been announced.
More detail on these initiatives is set out below -
- An extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of September, ensuring it continues to support employers as they begin to reopen.
- Two further grants will also be available to self-employed people – and the newly self-employed will also be eligible for both grants.
- A continuation of the temporary Universal Credit uplift for a further six months.
- New support for providing young people with new skills: including doubling the incentive payment to SMEs to take on apprentices of any age to £3,000, and £126 million to triple the number of traineeships next year.
- New Recovery Loans and a new Restart grant of up to £18,000 to help businesses as they reopen.
- Support for the sports, arts and culture sectors will also be increased by a further £700 million as they begin to reopen.
- Extending the business rates holiday, VAT cut and stamp duty holiday. There will also be a new mortgage guarantee scheme from April which backs 95 per cent mortgages – helping those with smaller deposits.
- Opening the new Levelling Up Fund for its first round of bids, worth £4.8 billion across the United Kingdom.
- The Budget also announces 45 new Town Deals to help spread opportunity across the country.
Blyth Valley is classified as a priority 1 area alongside the rest of Northumberland for the Levelling Up Fund which will support town centre and high street regeneration, local transport projects and cultural & heritage assets. With a bidding deadline coming up in June there is an immediate opportunity to put forward a project that could be worth anywhere between £20m and £50m.
Blyth has recently submitted a £25m Town Deal bid and received £11.1m from the Future High Streets Fund in December. Alongside the £34m provided to rapidly progress the Northumberland Line with three of the six stations in Blyth Valley, and the bid for an improved rail service from Cramlington, the constituency continues to be a Government priority that will also benefit significantly from the nationwide initiatives.