The Northern Research Group (NRG) has urged the Chancellor to put certainty for struggling families and businesses at the heart of his next budget, which is scheduled for the beginning of March.

In a letter to the Chancellor, backed by 50 MPs, the NRG welcomed commitments made in the One Year Spending Review, including changes to the Treasury’s “Green Book” and the creation of a £4bn Levelling-Up Fund.

However, they warned that families and businesses face a series of cliff edges over the coming months as existing support programmes come to an end and Bounce Back Loans become repayable.

The NRG said that “extensions are necessary to protect families and individuals caught up in the economic fallout from the pandemic.”

The group have also urged the Chancellor to springboard the region’s economic recovery whilst interest rates remain at a record low, by prioritising small regional infrastructure projects, moving more government departments out of London, and fully-financing Town Deals and High Street projects.

The NRG has asked the Government to consider a range of options, including: Accelerating the relocation of Whitehall departments out of London into nonmetropolitan towns, with the Chancellor announcing the location of the “Treasury North Campus” in Teesside, a commitment from the Chancellor to fully fund the Government’s Town Deals and High Street bids, support families and businesses through this third lockdown with: a Business Rate Holiday; extending the £20 Universal Credit increase until lockdown is lifted; a reduction of VAT to 5% for businesses in the leisure and tourism sector; the abolition of Stamp Duty on properties under £500,000; and extending the mortgage holiday for those on furlough.