Paul Cherpeau, Chief Executive of Liverpool Chamber, shared Budget 2021 Expectations
Education and Skills
“There is an acute need for greater investment in education and skills in the Liverpool City Region, so we are hopeful that some of the measures already trailed earlier this week will be confirmed. Extra funding for apprenticeships, T-levels and Level 3 courses is essential if we are to upskill our younger workforce, while skills boot camps can also provide an upward route for adults of any age whose traditional employment has been displaced by the pandemic.
“Support should be allocated at a local level and targeted at communities that have been worst affected by the pandemic, where the downward spiral of low skill, declining opportunity and poor health outcomes continues to intensify.”
Innovation and Business
“We know that the knowledge economy is one of the Liverpool City Region greatest strengths and will be pivotal in our economic recovery, so we look forward to measures that boost inward investment in sectors such as life sciences or automotive, as well as giving greater opportunity to spin-outs and start-ups.
“If the recovery loan scheme is extended, it will be a welcome relief for businesses still rebuilding their way out of the pandemic, but we would also hope to see a greater commitment around furlough and sickness payments as we move into the winter, when staff isolation and temporary business closures are likely to become more prevalent.”
“Whilst we welcome the £710m additional transport funding, we also want to see the government honour its wider rail enhancement commitments to deliver improved services across the North as well as increasing the potential for rail freight, a key factor in supporting our net zero targets.”
“We would like to see a comprehensive funding package that supports the city region to maximise its sustainability assets in wind, solar and tidal and supports local businesses to make more sustainable choices around their own energy supply and consumption. This kind of joined up thinking will allow us to make genuine progress towards net zero.”
National Living Wage
“While businesses support the increase in the national living wage, it must be viewed in the context of rising energy prices, higher raw material prices, increased debt caused by the pandemic and tax increases on the horizon, which all combine to leave many firms facing a financial squeeze. There is a limit to how much they can continue to absorb rising costs before they need to raise their own prices.
“Businesses need breathing space to rebuild their finances and invest in staff and resources, so we’d urge the government to ensure businesses do not face any further costs for the remainder of this Parliament.
“The most effective way to sustainably increase people’s wages is to help firms boost their skills and productivity, so we hope to see major announcements around education and skills in this Budget.”