York’s Liberal Democrat Councillors are calling for an extension of vital support schemes, warning that small businesses face a 'black hole' in support.
The beginning of July will see major changes in the current Government support arrangements. The furlough scheme will be tempered back, business rates exemptions will fall away as will the import rule relief post Brexit trade agreement, repayments will also begin on bounce back loans, which will come as a significant blow to small businesses. For example, this will see many small businesses, including well-loved local pubs, being expected to pay back loans and rents, before they have seen their income streams recover as restrictions continue to impact on their capacity.
Despite this, restrictions are set to remain in place until 19th July.
These support measures were reflective of the plan to lift all restrictions by the 21st June. As the public health situation saw this step delayed, the Government should have stepped up and acknowledged the impact of this to small businesses by extending the support schemes.
The Federation of Small Businesses, which represents small firms across the country, have earlier this week issued a warning that the most fragile businesses had clung on through the pandemic, but now have no cash reserves remaining.
As many local businesses still remain in limbo, Councillor Andrew Waller is joining the FSB in calling on the Chancellor to bridge the gap by extending full furlough and full business rates relief to ensure local jobs are protected.
Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, commented:
"The decision to end so many of the support mechanisms before some firms even have a chance to open their doors and start trading will come as a real blow to many small businesses across the city and country.
“As the reopening plan was drawn up, Ministers were warned by businesses and local government that support will need to extended if the public health situation saw any steps delayed. Now is the time for the Chancellor to listen to these calls and appreciate the real extent of the challenges facing businesses.
“This black hole in business support must be urgently fixed. To ensure that local economies and jobs are protected, the Chancellor must draw up a long term plan of comprehensive support.”