It's vital that the Government supports businesses and organisations in our community who will be affected by the pandemic, including guidance about social gatherings and the need to self-isolate.
Many local jobs and livelihoods are dependent on our local economy as well as the national economy, and I have taken every opportunity to press Ministers on the need for urgent action.
- Reached out proactively to the arts and tourism sectors, who are particularly badly affected by plummeting visitor numbers, and brought their concerns directly to the attention of Ministers.
- Demanded that Ministers accelerate the process of ensuring businesses remain solvent during the crisis period.
- Called ahead of the Budget on March 11th for a business rates moratorium and then for further freezes on business costs as the situation escalated further.
- Raised the need for a ban on the cut-off of electricity, gas and water supplies to residential properties and small businesses during the crisis.
- Called for action to prevent profiteering from the crisis and strict penalties.
I have also joined calls for the Brexit transition period to be extended as I don’t think local businesses and our economy need more uncertainty. (see https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/56758/covid19-pandemic-and-eu-negotiations)
LETTER TO THE CHANCELLOR
On Thursday March 19, I wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for more support for workers and for the hospitality sector which plays such a vital role in Brighton's economy. You can read the text of the letter here https://www.carolinelucas.com/latest/letter-to-the-chancellor-on-coronavirus
SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
The Federation of Small Businesses, FSB, has helpful advice and guidance for business owners and the self employed https://www.fsb.org.uk/campaign/covid19.html
Acas is running a couple of webinars, offering free practical advice for small businesses and employers with questions about the coronavirus and how it affects their staff. The next one is on April 2nd, and you can register here https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8751372991389906947?source=Website
BANKS AND FINANCE SECTOR
The financial support for businesses is set out here https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/covid-19
It includes targeted assistance including repayment holidays, invoice-finance extensions and fee-free emergency loans, alongside over £20 billion of funding. A Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme (CBIL), allowing SMEs to access up to £5m in finance via loans, overdrafts etc for up to six years with no interest or fees payable.
There are also details on help for mortgage holders, landlords and renters.