LEP Chair welcomes phased route out of lockdown

Posted 22nd February 2021
4 minutes read
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The first two months of 2021 have been incredibly difficult for so many people and my thoughts go out to all those who have lost loved ones during this terrible time.

It has been tough too for many businesses and their employees who have had to put their lives and livelihoods on hold in order to reduce infection rates and protect our community.

It was very welcome therefore to hear the PM set out a proposed route out of lockdown for the country and the careful opening up of our economy over the coming weeks and months.

It is clear though that many businesses in the hospitality, leisure and retail sectors, and many others who support and supply them, will have to continue to make sacrifices until the restrictions on their operating, or the markets on which they depend, are opened up.

I am therefore calling on the Government directly to continue the essential “business life support” programmes of loan, grant and furlough support for all such businesses in our City Region, to give them a fighting chance of survival whilst restrictions remain in place, and to aid our recovery as the economy opens up again. We have come so far, we must not allow any of these businesses to fail unnecessarily when they have a big part to play in our future.

And whilst, rightly, our attention has been on the businesses and their employees most severely affected by Covid, I have seen many inspiring local businesses creatively adapt their products and services to the changing markets they are operating in, not just to survive but to drive growth, productivity and employment.

These businesses and the people who lead them and work in them will play a leading role in the growth and recovery of our City Region. In the coming year, through Growth Platform and our partners, we will be reaching out to help them realise their potential, creating quality jobs in highly productive businesses.

There will still be a few twists in the road to recovery, but we have, together, come through the toughest of times and can see a brighter future opening up ahead. With our remarkable assets, capabilities, businesses and people, we will not simply survive, but we will invest, we will build, we will innovate and we will come back stronger and better than before.

The City Region’s future in is our hands. We have much to do and the next step on our journey begins today, together.

Asif Hamid MBE