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Budget 2021 predictions and new tourism podcast series

As you read this, you may be eagerly anticipating Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget on 3 March 2021.

I’m guessing that not since war time has a Chancellor had such a challenging period. In recent years, the Budget has been announced in the autumn, but in these unprecedented times it was felt necessary to delay until now. You might wonder why we need a Budget. Legislation dictates that we have to enact a finance act each year, so that the Government can continue to operate.   

Budget 2021 predictions for businesses 

The predications for the Budget are not surprisingly based around dealing with the crisis many businesses are facing. So, I expect to see: 

  • Extension of the business rates holiday, which may target those businesses hardest hit, including non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure. I would not be surprised if he also retained the 5% VAT level for tourism and hospitality for 2021/2022.  
  • Extension of the furlough scheme. The scheme was due to be replaced in November 2020 but expect to see the scheme extended further before potentially being withdrawn in accordance with the roadmap recently announced by the Prime Minister.   
  • A fourth Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant – there is likely to be a further announcement covering the period February to April 2021. 
  • The Chancellor will also need to tentatively turn his attention to the first steps towards balancing the books! 
  • It was suggested that the uplift in Universal Credit would be ended in the Budget, but politically, this is unlikely to happen, and the Chancellor may well announce an extension, although many are calling for the extra £20 per week to become permanent. 

Budget 2021 predictions for tax 

It has been suggested that these areas of taxation may be the targets for generating more income: 

  • Freezing of tax allowances. 
  • An increase in the rate of corporation tax. 
  • Capital gains tax – the Office of Tax Simplification has been looking at how the tax could be simplified, potentially aligning rates to income tax rates and reducing the annual exempt amount. 
  • Raising fuel duty.
  • Reducing pension tax relief. 

It’s becoming traditional to announce at least one surprise; last year we had the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme so who knows what we might get this time? 

Next month I’ll report on what was actually announced. 

New tourism podcast series 

There’s no doubt that many businesses have suffered considerably from the COVID-19 lockdowns, and in particular, those in the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry. There will hopefully be a major bounce back as lockdown is eased, as well as the staycation effect, which will help those businesses recover and go forward with optimism. 

I’m therefore pleased to announce the launch of our new podcast series, Tourism Business Chat, where tourism specialist, Chris Scargill, interviews successful business owners and leaders from the tourism, leisure and hospitality sector throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.   

Each week, Chris’s special guests share the challenges their business and the sector overall are facing; what they have learnt from the last year; and how they plan to structure their business in the face of lockdown challenges, and beyond.  

The tourism, leisure and hospitality industry is a key sector in the East Anglia economy, and has faced huge disruption during the COVID-19 lockdown. Being in business can be a lonely place, and this open discussion will hopefully help those in the sector plan for growth, as the region aims to rightfully hold its place as a key destination for visitors in the UK.  

In the first episode, Chris Scargill talks to Andrew Hird, General Manager at Woodland Holiday Park, and Chairman of Visit North Norfolk Coast & Countryside. They discuss how it’s important now, more than ever, to have cohesion with local DMOs; how this is essential for promotion; and how businesses must work with the residents in their community.  

Andrew also highlights how a potential downturn in the high street could mean that the skills of those workers can transfer into the tourism sector and help this vibrant and crucial part of the economy. Andrew believes that recruitment is key, moving forwards, and emphasises that “meaningful careers with good pay are available if you work hard. 

You can listen to the podcast here: https://www.larking-gowen.co.uk/insights/podcast-tourism-business-chat-with-andrew-hird/

Future guest, Philip Turner, from Chestnut, echoes this, with the hope that one of the positives that will come from lockdown closures will be a change in how people view careers in the sector; “There will never be a greater opportunity for us to find people who will look at the hospitality sector through different eyes. 

Chris hopes that these conversations will inject some much needed optimism into the sector. In light of the recent government update regarding the roadmap out of lockdown, he believes that the reflection of these leaders is invaluable to others.  

Chris said: “One of the underlying themes of each of the conversations I have had, has been a passion for the sector. These inspirational business leaders have a love for what they do, and not only do they want to get back to normal, they want to remind people that their capacity to trade successfully is not only important to the economy of the area, but also to the wellbeing of their staff, their customers and our communities.”  

These conversations are a unique insight into the thoughts and processes of some of our region’s key sector leaders, running hugely successful and renowned businesses. Their insights are invaluable for anyone thinking of getting into the sector, or for those already leading their own business, looking to the light at the end of the COVID tunnel. 

If you have any queries, you can contact me on 01473 833411 or peter.glading@larking-gowen.co.uk 

Peter is the Guild’s accountant. This article is designed for the information of readers. Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, information contained in this article may not be comprehensive and recipients should not act upon it without seeking professional advice. “MHA Larking Gowen” is the trading name of Larking Gowen LLP, which is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (LLP number OC419486). Where we use the word partner it refers to a member of Larking Gowen LLP. © MHA Larking Gowen.