Business leaders lobby government for extra support

Business / Thu 22nd Oct 2020 at 07:02am

BUSINESS leaders from across Essex have joined with Council Leaders and MPs to lobby the Government for extra support for companies following the introduction of High local Covid alert restrictions.

The joint letter follows a summit meeting earlier this week, when Council leaders listened to concerns and business leaders set out the pressures being experienced, socially in the hospitality sector.

A set of ‘asks’ of Government has now been sent to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick MP.

The letter calls on the Government to:

  • Commit to an extension of the current business rates holiday for hospitality businesses and their suppliers subject to High tier restrictions.
  • Extend the temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, hotel and holiday accommodation businesses, and admissions to certain attractions from 12 January 2021 for at least a further three months.
  • Extend the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for jobs in the hospitality sector, along with a request to return to the full CJRS that was in place in June and July 2020 for the hospitality sector
  • Introduce High local Covid alert level operating costs grants for businesses in the hospitality sector.

Council Leaders are also asked for specific steps that would help businesses beyond the hospitality sector which are affected by High local Covid alert level restrictions, including;

  • Putting in place a stronger safety net to protect start-ups and the self-employed who are also being hit hard,
  • Ensuring banks are able to offer Coronavirus Business Investment Loans over ten years, in compliance with State Aid rules,
  • Providing additional funding via Business Improvement Districts for businesses in High local Covid alert level areas, and ;
  • the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues should be removed or extended to at least 12pm. 

Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Cllr Tony Ball said: “We understand the added pressure that moving into High local Covid alert has placed on local businesses and we want to act to address this.

“By reaching out to the Government now, we want to engage Ministers positively on measures which would offer real support to businesses though what everyone recognises are very difficult circumstances. We think our asks are reasonable and right for businesses across the county.”

The government moved Essex to the high Covid alert level on Saturday 17 October.

If the current measures are effective and show levels are reducing in Essex, we would look to go back into the ‘Medium’ local Covid alert level by December 15 2020.

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