FINANCIAL lifelines including an extended furlough scheme will go some way towards helping businesses in York recover from Covid-19.

With thousands of jobs being propped up by the Government and sectors of the local economy paralysed by the pandemic, many measures announced in Wednesday’s Budget were welcomed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the furlough scheme until the end of September to help businesses as they slowly reopen. Employers will pay 10 per cent towards the hours their staff do not work in July, rising to 20 per cent in August and September.

For many this was a necessary step though Helen Barnard, director of York-based Joseph Rowntree Foundation, tweeted: “We should have training for furloughed workers to speed transition to new jobs. Employers shouldn’t pay for unworked hours as [this]disincentivises bringing back more workers part time.”

Mini Setty, employment partner at Langleys Solicitors in York, said some employees faced the prospect of having been away from the workplace for 18 months. “Employers may face real difficulties in reintegrating and reskilling their workforce.

“There will also be worries of rebuilding a sense of team within many businesses which are not suited to at-home working, or that have struggled to keep up a feeling of togetherness and morale during the almost 12 months of enforced working from home restrictions.”

Cash grants will help many more self-employed workers who will be eligible this time, as tax return data for 2019/20 is now available. Mr Sunak had faced criticism that newly self-employed people were unable to benefit previously.

The Universal Credit uplift of £20 a week will continue for a further six months.

A new restart grant will start in April to help businesses reopen, with £5 billion of funding.

The rate of corporation tax, paid on company profits, will rise to 25 per cent in 2023 but with protections for smaller businesses.

Natalie McMillan, of North-Yorkshire-based McMillan and Associates Ltd which provides outsourced HR services and consultancy, said: “The government needs income sources to repay the debt incurred in responding to COVID. This will mean for over one million like me, who are directors of limited companies, we will be footing the bill when we received absolutely no support.

“This neither feels fair or an incentive to set up as an SME. Yet SMEs like mine account for 99% of the business population according to data.”

There will be a ‘super deduction’ for companies when they invest, reducing their tax bill by 130 per cent of the cost for the next two years.

Meanwhile, a new UK Infrastructure Bank will be located in Leeds, the Treasury is to establish a n economic campus in Darlington and new Freeports - economic zones with different rules to make it easier and cheaper to do business - will include the Humber region.

Simon Roberts, a tax partner at York accountancy firm, Hentons, said: “Embattled importers and exporters are likely to welcome the opportunities that eight new Freeports will present them with.”