A statement from LEP Chair Asif Hamid MBE on the new lockdown measures announced

Posted 5th January 2021
4 minutes read
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The new lockdown measures announced by the Prime Minister last night (4th Jan) are incredibly tough on business but, in the light of the rapidly increasing infection and hospitalization rates sweeping the country, an absolutely necessary step in trying to curb this new variant of the virus and to protect the lives of the most vulnerable in our communities.

Our businesses have been through a tremendously hard year and many have had to rapidly adapt and develop contingency plans to continue to operate. Our visitor and hospitality sectors in particular have suffered disproportionately from lockdown measures and now many more businesses will be severely affected by the latest lockdown and prevented from earning their living.

The support packages that have been put in place since March by Government and by our Metro Mayor, Combined Authority and Local Authorities have been invaluable and helped many good businesses to survive. But we know that some businesses and self-employed people have been unable to access some of this support. It is essential that all these businesses are now supported in this new national lockdown. They are vital to our society and to our future economic growth and must not be allowed to fail.

We are a resilient place with great resilient people doing the best they can – but our businesses need help in the face of this challenge.

As Chair of your Local Enterprise Partnership I am pressing the Government for additional support and funding for affected businesses to include further grant support for businesses whose trade is interrupted, for extension of the furlough scheme and for deferment of VAT and Corporation Tax payments to HMRC.

The collaborative working between our  Combined Authority, Local Councils and business support organisations throughout this pandemic has been exemplary and has enabled many businesses to survive and saved thousands of jobs. In the challenging weeks ahead we will continue to work in concert with them to do the very best we can to support our business community and residents.

I would encourage any business seeking support at this time to visit Growth Platform’s website and dedicated Covid-19 pages here. This details all the funding and support available including new schemes as they are released and links to our local business support partners and all of the help they can provide.

The weeks ahead will be tough, but by working together, in partnership, we will pull through. Stay safe.

Asif Hamid MBE (Chair)