What Liverpool businesses need from the Budget

At lunchtime on Wednesday Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Spring Budget – Liverpool BID Company CEO Bill Addy offers his take on what Liverpool businesses will be looking for from the Chancellor

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Spring Budget on Wednesday


Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will deliver his Budget to the House of Commons on Wednesday. These are the five measures I believe will most benefit Liverpool businesses…

VAT relief

Business confidence is a real issue and the challenges being faced by retail and hospitality venues is acute.

The industries are vulnerable to the economic headwinds coming their way, and 2024 could be a challenging year.

We cannot burden these businesses with more debt and costs. Instead we should reduce VAT, showing confidence and support for our high streets and city centres.

Business rates relief extended

The business rates system is broken and needs wholesale reform. If the Chancellor does not take action to reduce this burden, we risk seeing more closures on the high street and in our city centres.

Anchor tenants, who provide confidence, jobs and vitality to areas are risking closure. Abolish the planned business rates increase in April and give the sector room to breathe.

Tax-free shopping for international visitors

At Liverpool BID Company we are supporting the campaign to bring back tax-free shopping for overseas visitors to help boost our local economy.

The Association of International Retail wants to “restore the £1.5bn loss of spending by non-EU visitors and create a unique new EU shopping-led tourism market worth £10bn annually”.

We can see the impact of this in Liverpool. The total international spend in Q3 of 2023 was down -10.5% compared to Q3 of 2022. International tourist spend outside of Europe has dropped -34.6% in Q3.

The re-introduction of tax-free shopping would provide a much needed boost to our city centre economy, translating to valuable jobs, and economic self-sufficiency.

It would increase footfall in key destinations within the city centre, boosting the city’s visitor economy and tourism spend.


Bill Addy
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company


Support for cultural venues

The cultural sector is under extreme pressure as funding is reduced or stagnates. The Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief has been extended to March 2026, but we need the government to go further.

Extending the tax relief on retail and hospitality would support the music sector but we need the government to go further. Explore long term funding support for venues and reduce VAT on tickets.

Make it easier and more affordable to have a vibrant cultural sector that creates jobs and enhances our city.

Business support

Since the pandemic, we have seen the way we work change. We need extensive support for businesses to help encourage workers back to offices. This is having a knock on effect on footfall and activity in our city centres.

Help to support older people back to work. The UK is struggling to welcome those over 55 to the workplace. Targeted support would help to make work more accessible and inclusive.

Affordable and reliable public transport make it easier for commuters to feel more confident that their way into work will be on time and will not be too expensive.

Energy support for organisations will help them to pay for utilities and keep offices open.

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