YORK businesses need normal trading conditions to survive - not extended subsidies to stay closed or below capacity, says a York MP.

Julian Sturdy, the MP for York Outer, welcomed many of the measures announced by the Chancellor yesterday, but said: "The overall Budget is only affordable if ‘normal’ is not much further delayed."

He welcomed the extension of emergency Covid jobs and business support, but said: "This must not detract from the urgent need to safely return to normal trading conditions, facilitated by successful vaccination.

"It is a relief predictions of peak unemployment of nearly 12 per cent have been revised to 6.5 per cent, giving hope of a solid recovery.

"Given 30,000 York residents have been supported by furlough and self-employment support, I am very glad these schemes have been extended until September.

"I am pleased that 600,000 more people are now eligible for self-employed support, through filing a 2019-20 tax return, and that the emergency Universal Credit uplift of £20 per week has been retained for a further six months."

He welcomed other measures such as the extended five per cent VAT rate for hospitality and tourism until the end of September, and 12.5 per cent cut rate for a further six months, and the business rates holiday for retail, leisure and hospitality until June, and reduced discount for nine months thereafter.

"However, I would have liked some measures to address the unfair difference in business rates liability between high street and online retailers, and will look to take this up with Rishi Sunak," he said.

"I also expect the £300 million more for the Culture Recovery Fund to further support local institutions like York Theatre Royal and Elvington’s Yorkshire Air Museum, that have benefited so far from this.

"I know the Chancellor’s new restart grants will also be very helpful for many battered York enterprises as they reopen, with up to £6,000 for non-essential retail, and up to £18,000 for personal care, leisure and hospitality, as they will likely open later or with more restrictions.

"But to survive, local businesses fundamentally need normal trading conditions, not extended subsidies to stay closed or below capacity, and the overall Budget is only affordable if ‘normal’ is not much further delayed."

Mr Sturdy said the Budget had offered 'substantial measures' to guard against youth unemployment, including the doubling of incentive payments to small businesses to take on apprentices to £3,000.

"The issue of young people in more expensive areas like York kept off the housing ladder by enormous deposit requirements was also addressed head-on, with new government-backed mortgages requiring just five per cent deposits."

He said he was reassured to hear plans for two new ‘free ports’ on Humberside and Teeside, special business-friendly zones with cheaper customs, lower taxes and simpler planning to attract trade, investment and new jobs.

"The economic growth and jobs that will allow recovery from Covid and pay for our public services depend on businesses investing in technology and their workforce, which is why I welcome the Chancellor’s ‘Super Deduction’ of 130% of taxable profits on investment."

But he questioend whether it was right to fund this move by hiking corporation tax to 25 per centm saying it could make the UK less attractive to job-creators.

"Besides vaccine-induced optimism, we also need to be realistic that even in five years time, as a nation we will still be 3% poorer because of the pandemic, and are borrowing £355 billion this year alone.

"Any increase in the interest costs of servicing this debt could be dangerous, and this has already doubled in the last month, so the government have to take prudent measures like the above to reduce our vulnerability to rises in the cost of borrowing."