“The Chancellor has once again moved swiftly to support businesses as circumstances change. It is sorely needed.
“More direct grants will provide some relief to eligible companies’ cashflow.
“Yet with businesses facing a third lockdown, there are other steps that can help provide a bridge to the all-important economic recovery, particularly those affected through supply chains.
“For some, demand has once again evaporated overnight, and in northern England some firms have been labouring under stop-start orders for months already.
“Therefore extending the job retention scheme to end of the second quarter would provide firms with a clear line of sight, aiding planning and investment.
“And removing the business rate relief cliff edge in April will provide much-needed breathing space, as will re-examining the case for VAT deferrals.
“With the vaccine rollout now underway, and increasing mass rapid testing, there really is a brighter future within reach. Maintaining steadfast support for firms during this painful period will help ensure the recovery is delayed for as short a time as possible.”
Author: Rain Newton-Smith, CBI Chief Economist