Budget 2021: The 'most amazing' one yet or a disappointment? Yorkshire residents have their say on Rishi Sunak's Budget

Rishi Sunak's Budget announcement saw the news that a major new institution would be coming to Yorkshire, furlough would be extended and income tax thresholds would be frozen.

But as ever, the Budget means different things to different pople, so with that in mind, we spoke to a number of Yorkshire residents, young and old, to get their thoughts on the Budget Speech. This is what they had to say.

Tony Knight is a retired businessman and lives in Ledsham, West Yorkshire, with his wife Jan. The couple have three children and ten grandchildren.

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Mr Knight, 77, was supportive of the measures the Chancellor introduced in his Budget to support businesses.

Tony Knight, Nicola Barraclough, Peter Brown and Liam Fitzpatrick all gave their thoughts on the Budget announcement.

He said: “I thought it was all extremely positive. He’s trying his heart out to help people, and to help businesses. The freeports will encourage manufacturing within that region.

“There’s a bill to pay here and we’re all responsible for it. I think he’s tried very hard with the tax situation to spread it out. Everyone expected massive tax rises and we haven’t got those.

“I think he’s trying to be extremely honest, and I’ve come away from it thinking ‘good on you, pal’

“I listened to Keir Starmer afterwards and thought ‘I wouldn’t fancy his job,' he wasn’t very effective at all.”

Tony Knight is a retired businessman and lives in Ledsham

Mr Knight’s paper-selling firm, which is now run by his son, made use of the furlough scheme when it was introduced but is no longer using the scheme for its staff.

Of the planned six month extension to furlough, he said: “As businesses are allowed to reopen, the scheme will naturally come to an end. We can’t keep it going forever.”

Mr Knight is looking forward to returning to his local pub, The Chequers, when it is able to re-open.

But he said the Chancellor’s freeze on alcohol duty won’t make a great difference to whether people choose to return to pubs and restaurants in droves.

Peter Brown, CEO of Neill & Brown Global Logistics

He said: “I don’t think the price matters. It’s a question of getting back into the habit. I don’t go to the pub because beer is £2 a pint or £3 a pint. I go because I want to enjoy it.”

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Nicola Barraclough was disappointed at the lack of certainty over the economy.

The mum of three who works as a cleaner said she had lost clients due to the pandemic because people were afraid of having others in their homes - and in once case, the client had died.

Nicola Barraclough with sons Alex and Sam

Because she was recently self-employed at the start of the pandemic she had struggled financially and been forced to spend savings on getting by as she has been entitled to very little government assistance.

“People are holding on to their money because they don’t know what the future is going to be. Could it even get worse?”

There was not anything particularly helpful to her in Sunak’s announcement.

She said: “Not a lot of it was relevant to the situation my family are in because myself and my husband are both self-employed. There wasn’t a lot of reassurance there.

“I know they mentioned that the furlough scheme was being extended until September, which is good, but those of us who are self-employed don’t get that opportunity.”

She added that she was also disappointed that there were no announcements about education, because she has a son in Year 11 whose studies have been heavily impacted and a son who is in his first year of university.

Sheffield student Liam Fitzpatrick

Businessman Peter Brown fizzes with enthusiasm for Rishi Sunak’s Budget saying in his 55 years in business it is “the most amazing” he has ever heard.

Delaying the corporation tax rise, giving firms a chance to claim a 130 per cent capital allowance on plant and machinery investments and freezing fuel duty have all ticked the boxes.

“He has given away that much it is incredible - and I can’t see a catch,” said the chief executive of Hull logistics firm Neill and Brown, saying it gave firms the incentive to “build and invest”.

“I think it is a very innovative budget and it’s down to us now as businesses to grasp it, get on with it and prove them right,” he added.

He was amazed they hadn’t put up fuel duty straightaway and said the most important concession was on fuel duty, which would have put up their costs by three per cent.

Sheffield University student Liam Fitzpatrick, 18, said there was nothing in the announcement that would help students.

“I think there should have been an acknowledgement [of students]. It was very much that there was no mention of universities at all.

“It was quite clear that they were throwing money at anything and yet there was nothing at all for students.”

Mr Fitzpatrick, a first year student staying in student accommodation, said he had signed up knowing that he was going to university in a pandemic but that nobody had expected to spend so much time confined to their accommodation.

He said he would have liked some acknowledgement that students are paying for an experience that they are not having and financial assistance for universities to reimburse students for part of their course costs.

He said: “The Open University is about £6,300 a year, which is effectively what we have at the moment, so really we should be charged [about that] because there’s not really a difference between what we’re doing and the Open University, which is £3,000 cheaper.”

He said he does not drink alcohol so the news that beer duty would be frozen was fairly meaningless to him personally but it would be generally welcome news for students, especially those who rely on part time work at struggling pubs.

“They’re going to need all the help they can get when they reopen,” he said.

He said most first year students had had to be very careful with money because it was difficult to get a part time job and loans only just covered rent in most instances.

He added: “I would ordinarily have a part-time job but everywhere has told me that they have staff on furlough at the moment and can’t take on anyone new. I don’t know anyone who has one because it’s been impossible to get a part time job since March.”