Chancellor Rishi Sunak hints at furlough extension as business and political leaders urge him to put Yorkshire at the heart of the recovery

Business and political leaders today urge the Government to place Yorkshire at the heart of Britain’s economic recovery as the Chancellor hinted at an extension to furlough and pledged to use the rebuilding of the country’s public finances as a chance to spread opportunity around the nation.

In a statement provided exclusively to The Yorkshire Post, the Richmond MP confirmed he would detail the extension of business support schemes at next week’s Budget statement, in which he is expected to confirm the opening of a new Treasury office in the North.

However, both the director general of the Institute of Directors Jon Geldart and the shadow business secretary Ed Miliband, urged the Chancellor to go further and utilise Yorkshire’s strong potential in digital and green industries to power the UK economy back to growth.

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In his statement Mr Sunak said: “Throughout this crisis, my number one focus has been on protecting lives and livelihoods.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged to use the Budget to level up Britain.

“We’ve supported millions of businesses and individuals though our jobs support schemes and we’ve provided people hope, opportunity and a path back into work though our Plan for Jobs.

“This support will continue as we enter the next stage of our recovery – and I will be setting out further details at next week’s Budget.

“Central to our recovery will be our plans to level-up and spread opportunity across the United Kingdom.”

He added: “We are committed to our plans to spread prosperity to every corner of the UK as we build back better from the pandemic.”

Jon Geldart is among those urging the Chancellor to place Yorkshire's assets are the forefront of the recovery.

Speaking to this newspaper, Mr Geldart, who is from Harrogate, said that the current Government was elected on a manifesto commitment to enact a levelling up strategy and warned that “having a strategy is nothing without execution”.

“There is now a huge opportunity to deliver on that manifesto pledge about levelling up. To be honest, the Government has gone a bit dark on this recently. I do think there is an opportunity to redress this and make good on those promises.”

“There is a huge opportunity for us to lead on the digital and the green economy.”

Mr Miliband, Doncaster North MP and former Labour leader, said: “Yorkshire must be at the forefront of our country’s economic recovery from Covid-19 and we are particularly well placed to lead our country’s fight against the climate crisis - creating jobs in the clean industries of the future and boosting our economy.”

Ed Miliband wants Yorkshire placed at the heart of the recovery.

He said the region was a “natural home for a green revolution”, especially in key manufacturing industries such as aerospace and steel, while also leading in carbon capture and storage technology, hydrogen and green energy like offshore wind.

“As we come out of the public health crisis, our businesses will need to be helped back to health and then we need action to tackle the deep insecurity and inequalities that scar our country.

"We cannot just go back to business as usual with all the injustices that means. New small businesses in Yorkshire are some of the worst financed in England, holding back their growth potential.”