NEW Government measures designed to save businesses and protect jobs have been welcomed by Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely.

The measures, set out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday, included a jobs retention bonus to encourage employers to bring back furloughed staff, a ‘kickstart’ scheme to help young people into employment, grants to make homes more energy efficient and cuts to stamp duty.

Also included was a 15 per cent reduction in VAT for food outlets, accommodation providers and attractions, and a discount scheme to encourage people to eat out and support local businesses.

Mr Seely was among the MPs in favour of having VAT reduced for the tourism and hospitality sector.

He said: “These are all really welcome Government interventions that will save businesses and jobs on the Isle of Wight.

"I’m delighted the Government listened to the pleas of MPs to reduce VAT for our accommodation providers, attractions, restaurants, cafés and pubs.

“So many Island businesses depend on the visitor economy to survive and these new measures really could be the lifeline they need to see them through to next year.”

He said he had spoken with a number of representatives from Island businesses following the announcement and the feedback had been extremely positive.

“Island businesses are already reacting to the Chancellor’s statement making changes to their business plans to capitalise on the new support available.

“We have an incredibly driven businesses community here on the Island and they are determined to survive. Let’s help them by thinking local, staying local and buying local.

“There is still work to be done in the fight to save as many businesses and jobs as possible and the quicker we can get all businesses up and running the better.

“I will continue to push the Government to facilitate the reopening of gyms, beauty salons, swimming pools and other businesses as soon as possible.”

Mr Seely said he encouraged Island businesses to sign up to the ‘good to go’ mark, to reassure their customers they are following the Government guidelines, and also to take advantage of the new ‘visitor charter’ designed to encourage visitors to behave responsibly and respect and protect the Island as they enjoy what it has to offer.

Update 10am:

Vix Lowthion, IW Green Party spokesperson, said: "While Rishi Sunak's measures to support furloughed staff and encourage employment of young people are welcome, there are real inequalities and health dangers in many of his announcements yesterday."

She called for a Universal Basic Income and asked where support was for the poorest, those reliant on food banks, and the thousands of Islanders who rent their homes.