Sunak's latest move 'positive' but fears for events industry remain - The Solihull Observer

Sunak's latest move 'positive' but fears for events industry remain

Solihull Editorial 22nd Oct, 2020   0

BUSINESS leaders in Greater Birmingham have welcomed ‘positive moves’ from the Chancellor to further help businesses struggling to cope with Covid-19 restrictions – but they warned that more must be done.

Rishi Sunak announced in the House of Commons today, Thursday, October 22, that he is introducing a new grant scheme for businesses impacted by Tier 2 restrictions even if they aren’t legally closed.

Local authorities in ‘high alert’ areas will be funded to provide businesses with cash grants, decided on a discretionary basis.

The grants will be aimed at the hospitality, leisure and accommodation sector and will be worth up to up to £2,100 per month for eligible businesses.

Grants will be retrospective, backdated to august where higher restrictions in place.

Solihull, like Birmingham, is currently under Tier 2 restrictions.

The Chancellor also announced changes to the Job Support Scheme for businesses who can open.

Under the original scheme employers had to work for 33 per cent of their normal hours. That has now been reduced to 20 per cent.

Employer contribution for hours not worked will be five per cent and the scheme will apply to eligible businesses in all alert levels.

For the self employed the next grant will double from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of earnings. with the maximum grant going up from £1,875 to £3,750.

Henrietta Brealey, director of policy and strategic relationships at Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce said: “These are positive moves from the Chancellor answering many of the urgent calls for action put forward by business organisations and local stakeholders.

Henrietta Brealey: More needs to be done.

“But there is still more to be done to support businesses through this crisis.

“More than anything, employers need the government to take a longer term view on the support that’s needed, ahead of challenges before they become too urgent to ignore and bring forward a clear strategy for supporting businesses through this immediate crisis and into recovery in due course.”

Robert Elliot, president of Solihull Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Solihull Tourism Forum, said: “I welcome the further support outlined by the Chancellor. I support the powers of grants being distributed by local councils who will have a better on the ground feel for where support is needed.

“Additionally, the support for self-employed and small businesses may provide relief for the distressed supply chain in hospitality.

“I am still concerned that the conference and events industry is largely forgotten.

“I sincerely hope that while too late for many, these measures may save some jobs and businesses.”

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