FUEL duty and tax cuts have been announced to help families and embattled businesses facing high energy costs.

But city leaders say the Spring statement falls short of what was needed.

The Chancellor has cut fuel duty by 5p per litre, while the National Insurance threshold will rise to £12,570 from July.

The basic rate of income tax will fall from 20p to 19p from 2024, and the Employment Allowance, which allows smaller businesses to reduce their employers National Insurance contributions bills each year, will rise from £4,000 to £5,000.

Two new business rates reliefs will now come into effect in April.

There will be no business rates due on green technology used to decarbonise buildings, while eligible heat networks will receive 100 per cent relief.

Mr Sunak also vowed to examine how the tax system can encourage employers to invest in training, while also committing to improving R&D reliefs.

The support for SMEs comes on top of 50 per cent business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure properties, also coming in this April.

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, said the Chancellor had given nothing to pensioners, nor anyone claiming social security benefits.

"The very poorest were offered access to more funding from the Household Support Fund, which will average just 6p a day for those who fall below the Minimum Income Threshold, all those who fall into the trap of high housing, energy and food costs against low household income."

Meanwhile, she said, the cut to fuel costs would soon be overtaken by further oil and gas increases, and instead of retrofitting the homes most in need, he expected people to fund it themselves, but with the removal of VAT on solar panels, heat pumps and wind turbines.

"This was neither a deal for the poorest nor for the environment. "

“Today will come as a massive blow to low income families."

Cllr Andrew Waller, executive member for economy and strategic planning, said 'real action' was urgently needed to support struggling households.

“Businesses are facing horrendous cost pressures and an uncertain future. The current trajectory of inflation poses an existential threat to independent retailers."

He said the chancellor should have delayed the rise in employers’ national insurance, extended business rate cuts and a delay to VAT's planned return to 20 per cent in April from 12.5 per cent.

Amanda Blanc, Group CEO of York-based Aviva plc, said: “Today’s package of support is necessary and welcome.

"It won’t stop the cost of living pain, but it will make it a little more bearable for those who are feeling it most. I am also pleased to see plans for tax reform to stimulate further investment in UK growth.”

Carolyn Frank, of FSB York & North Yorkshire, said the raise in Employment Allowance was 'a step in the right direction' but the fuel duty discount did not mitigate rising costs of doing business with inflationary pressures.

"We haven't seen the worst yet of rising costs and especially energy costs, and business rates will probably need more intervention ."

Natasha Guest, a senior associate in Berwins’ Dispute Resolution team, said: "The Chancellor’s announcement of additional support for businesses, including a 50% reduction in business rates for retail, hospitality and leisure, will ease pressures facing some York businesses, but there are plenty of concerns which remain unaddressed.

"With spiralling energy costs and inflation currently sitting at a 30 year high, many companies will understandably be worried about how they – and their debtors – will manage to pay the bills as the year goes on."

Meanwhile, Mark Goldstone, West Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce head of policy & representation, said: “Today was a missed opportunity to rebuild and renew the economy and restore the business confidence needed to weather the uncertain and volatile times we currently face.

"The cut in fuel duty, though welcome, does not off-set the significant cost-of-living increases bearing down on firms and households. Smaller businesses, in particular, are exposed as they have neither the protections or financial support provided to households, nor the negotiating power of larger businesses.

“The measures in the Spring Statement don’t go far enough for what businesses needed to see today.

"There are some positive announcements but those high cost pressures remain largely unaddressed.

"As the economic outlook is likely to get worse before it gets better, many firms will be forced to continue raising prices, further fuelling the cost-of-living crisis.

"There were too few measures here to restore stability and confidence for business.

“While the increased employment allowance provides a small amount of financial headroom for firms facing rising costs, other measures – such as the introduction of an SME energy price cap – would have helped to tackle the escalating crisis to the cost of doing business.

"Keeping a lid on prices, protecting jobs and securing investment is needed now to sustain our economic prospects.”