Budget 2017: What the budget means for Norwich
While there was some relief for pubs and funding for social care in Philip Hammond’s budget, others lost out as the chancellor presented a cautious plan.
Businesses were boosted as the chancellor set out measures to mitigate the impact of the rates revaluation on the hardest hit, including a “discretionary relief” £300m fund and promising companies losing small business rate relief their rates will rise by no more than £50 a month next year. Meanwhile pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 will get a £1,000 discount on the amount they would have paid.
Philip Cutter, landlord of the Murderers in Timberhill, said the £1,000 rate relief for pubs would “not make up for much in the long-term”.
“As an industry we have been quite heavily penalised because the rates system is not suitable for purpose,” he said.
“There are a lot of pubs out there whose rates did increase and they are the ones who are really going to be struggling.”
The chancellor announced an extra £2bn funding for social care, saying it would give councils the chance to take “immediate action to fund care packages for more people”.
Tracy Wharvell, a Norfolk-based director at the National Care Association, said: “I think all money is well received by the sector, however there has been such a lack of investment that it will take some time to turn it around.”
However, Clare Goodswen, partner at Norwich accountancy firm M+A Partners, said the chancellor’s talk of fairness would be hard to hear for self-employed workers.
She said: “The national insurance changes affect sole traders and partnerships and most of those affected wouldn’t have a problem with a tax increase if they received the same state benefits as an employed person but that is simply not the case.”
The government has promised to fund an additional 110 free schools while putting £216m towards repairs at state schools. But Clare Jones, headteacher at Bignold Primary School in Norwich, said the money promised to existing schools was not enough. She said: “There are more than 500 schools in Norfolk and if you think even half of those needed £1m worth of refurbishment, then that is the budget gone already. It is a drop in the ocean.”