THE Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget has 'failed to fix long-standing issues', according to one Cumbrian MP.

Rishi Sunak said the Government will not raise the rates of income tax, national insurance or VAT, when he outlined his fiscal plans on Wednesday.

“Instead, our first step is to freeze personal tax thresholds," the Chancellor said. “We will of course deliver our promise to increase it again next year to £12,570, but we will then keep it at this more generous level until April 2026.

“The higher rate threshold will similarly be increased next year, to £50,270, and will then also remain at that level for the same period.”

Retail, hospitality and leisure firms will now see the current business rates holiday – which was due to expire at the end of this month – extended until the end of June, when restrictions are intended to be wound down.

Reacting, Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “I’m glad to see that the Chancellor has listened to our joint calls with Cumbria Tourism to extend support schemes for local businesses, including the furlough scheme, the business rates holiday and the VAT cut for the hospitality sector.

“However, it is incredibly disappointing that the Chancellor has failed to fix some of the long-standing issues with these schemes which means that many struggling workers and businesses will continue to face enormous hardship in the months ahead.

“He has done nothing to plug the gaps in support for the furlough and self-employment income support schemes which means that many freelancers, new starters, directors of small limited companies and self-employed people will now face 12 months without a penny of support.

“Meanwhile the decision not to extend the cut in VAT to alcohol will mean that wet-led pubs, that are so important to communities in the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, have been hung out to dry yet again.”

The Chancellor said he did not believe it would be right to increase the rates of tax on working people, telling MPs: “I believe our approach, while bold, is compatible with our duty as a fiscally responsible and business friendly government.

“This is the right choice and I’m confident it will command public assent.”

Cumbria Tourism says the direct ‘real time’ evidence it has been able to provide - thanks to input from hundreds of businesses, alongside its regular briefings with Cumbria’s six MPs and regional and national partnerships, as well as meetings with the Tourism Minister and government officials – has ensured Cumbria’s voice has been amplified and heard at the highest levels in Government.

Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, Gill Haigh, said: “This budget clearly acknowledges the key points we have been lobbying for at the highest levels of government for some time.

"We are pleased it recognises the implications of the phased way in which businesses will reopen in the coming months, with extra reopening costs, ongoing financial pressures and restrictions likely to remain in place.

“This will clearly impact on their ability to operate at pre-Covid levels for some time, so today’s news will be a big relief not only for hundreds of businesses, but also thousands of employees across our county.

“We are also looking forward to hearing more detail about the new national initiatives to promote investment and competitiveness, such as the Super deduction scheme and ‘Help to Grow’, as well as understanding how the new Restart Grant and Recovery Loan Scheme will work in practice.

“Cumbria Tourism will continue working on behalf of our tourism member businesses to help them take advantage of the opportunities that are available.

"We also recognise that much of the support ends before the Winter which will undoubtedly be a challenging time, with so many businesses having lost so much trade since the pandemic began.

"So we will be monitoring the impact of reopening very closely."