“In what was one of the most important budgets of recent times we broadly welcome the outcome of what was delivered by Rishi Sunak. The Treasury was presented with a very difficult task and I believe the mix of pragmatism and long-termism demonstrated an understanding of the pressures that businesses face. In particular the extension of furlough through to September, albeit with the July taper, recognised that businesses won’t automatically return to pre-pandemic trading and that they will need time to respond to what will be a new dynamic. Furlough has been a life-saver for the business community and will continue to protect an untold number of jobs. As a major investor in the UK with 177 venues in over 140 towns and cities, we are very pleased to see resources being directed to local transport and other projects. Because we have a presence on so many high streets the recovery of local economies is vital. The extension of Business Rates Relief also removes a substantial overhead. Clearly the huge costs associated with Covid will have to be paid for but we are pleased that the Chancellor has avoided the temptation to burden the country with immediate tax increases and has put the recovery of the economy front and centre stage.”

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