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LOCAL UPDATE: Reaction to the budget across the region


The Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has given its reaction to the budget.

They have welcomed the extension of furlough and the continued business rates holiday amongst other things but have suggested the Chancellor could have gone further to help the hardest-hit firms.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the GBCC, said: “It’s pleasing to see the Treasury has heeded the calls we made in our Back Our Businesses plan – in particular around the extension of the furlough scheme through to the Autumn, additional support for the self-employed, further financial assistance to help businesses reopen and of course, easing the severe financial pressures are facing by extending VAT cuts and business rate relief. That’s not to say that the Chancellor couldn’t have gone further especially in relation to helping directors of limited companies or those firmed embedded in the supply chains of businesses that have been forced to close by the crisis.

“Closer to home, it was brilliant to see that Solihull has secured significant investment to press ahead with infrastructure including multi-story car parking for the HS2 Interchange station – a project which will open up vast development opportunities both home and abroad.”

Meanwhile, Transport for West Midlands will receive forty per cent less money to carry maintain roads across the West Midlands than in this current financial year. As a result, the County Councils Network has said planned road maintenance projects are likely to be cancelled.

Finally, Sandwell's bids to the Government's Towns Fund have been granted and they are now set for £67.5 million worth of investment, which is the largest amount given to any local authority in the budget. The finances will be used to fund a range of projects across Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich.

Deputy Council Leader Councillor Maria Crompton said: “We are delighted that Sandwell will be allocated this money under the Towns Fund programme to provide a much-needed, long-term boost to our town centres. We now need to review the details of this offer from Government.

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in preparing the bids and everyone who had their say when we consulted on our proposals for the town investment plans last year.”

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