Councillor Andrew Waller has cautiously welcomed today’s announcement made by the Chancellor to allocate a one-off support grant to hospitality businesses, urging for clarity and longer term planning, recognising that there will be businesses that have seen an impact who are not included in today’s announcements, with further support needed.
Ahead of new Covid restrictions coming into effect, Councillor Andrew Waller wrote to the Chancellor earlier last week highlighting the need for urgent support to hospitality, tourism and travel businesses who are being hit the hardest over this holiday period.
Cllr Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, commented:
“This change of heart by the Chancellor is welcome, but businesses need to have certainty over amounts and timing of support as well possible future restrictions, which will impact how many businesses will prepare for New Year’s Eve and the new year.
“Whilst City of York Council will once again work to ensure that these funds will be distributed as soon as possible, it’s clear that this one off grant is little consolation for hospitality businesses that have seen revenues collapse at the busiest time of year. Many Businesses were relying on making up some revenue to cover previous losses, and to see them through the quieter months in the first quarter of the New Year. More financial support will be needed — particularly if new restrictions come in after Christmas. Many businesses are losing tens of thousands a week at the moment due to the stealth lockdown measures, this support will barely cover overheads for many.
“As always, we await further details and many questions remain over today’s announcements. It may be some weeks before the Government send through the details on how the funding can be distributed, and we appreciate that this is frustrating for businesses struggling with cash flow problems. We will continue to press for these details as well as the funding to be provided as soon as possible so it can be distributed quickly to suffering businesses.
“Crucially for our city, the hospitality grants are welcome news and we sincerely hope that these will be universal and government guidance will not tie the hands of local councils once again in eligibility criteria and other demands. Some companies in supply chains have been missed out previously, and we hope that the resources, when spread over the eligible companies, will be sufficient to keep them running.
“As previously, not all companies needing help will meet the criteria in the Government Scheme, so a central Council contact point for businesses and sectors will be available to ensure we represent them when lobbying for additional help, and develop local schemes which can provide a targeted response with available resources.
“We will be awaiting further information on how today’s plans are expected to be implemented, and until then we will continue to work with the city’s businesses and partners to ensure that all is done to protect livelihoods and jobs people across York.”