This week’s Budget has thrown out a lifeline to many Stratford businesses and will help its world-famous leisure and hospitality sector get back on its feet once lockdown eases says town accountancy firm Leigh Graham Associates.

Partner at the John Street firm, Leigh Day, says the furlough extension, continued VAT cuts for the hospitality sector, tax relief on investment and a financial boost for theatres are all vital to support individual businesses and the economy as a whole.

“Obviously these sectors have been hard hit across the country, but with Stratford such a focus for tourism and culture the impact of Covid on pubs, restaurants and holiday accommodation means a large chunk of the local economy has been badly affected.

“The continuing freeze on VAT at 5 per cent may provide a little relief to them as they start to reopen in the spring, while the £400 million arts recovery fund will hopefully provide some help for our much-loved RSC.

“The continuation of the furlough scheme is of course vital both for the individuals who are unable to work at the moment and for the businesses employing them. These organisations perhaps now have the confidence to plan their reopening over the coming weeks and months.”

Leigh also welcomes Rishi Sunak’s so-called ‘super deduction’ for investing in certain capital equipment.

The measure provides allowances of 130 per cent on most new plant and machinery investments which ordinarily qualify for 18 per cent allowances.

“Over the past year we have been helping many local businesses adapt to the very different world in which we now find ourselves. This has been a combination of helping them reshape their businesses to adapt, accessing the various grants and funding available and deciding on the best approach to furlough. 

“The coming months will now also see us helping some of our clients look into capital investments which will not only enable their businesses to grow, but will also reduce their tax bills and even provide additional revenue from the government.”

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