MP demands urgent support for businesses amid claims 100 with rent that needs paying and jobs at risk - The Leamington Observer

MP demands urgent support for businesses amid claims 100 with rent that needs paying and jobs at risk

Leamington Editorial 22nd Dec, 2020   0

MP Matt Western is calling for urgent support for small businesses after Warwickshire remained under tier 3 restrictions.

The Warwick and Leamington MP called for business rates paid by supermarkets to be re-injected into the struggling hospitality sector.

He says there are more than 100 businesses in Leamington alone with rent that needs paying and jobs at risk.

Mr Western is now calling on government to use more than £2billion in business rates paid by major supermarkets to bailout smaller traders.

Supermarkets waived their business rates relief and paid in full after an outcry over the size of shareholder dividends as coronavirus heavily damaged smaller firms in the hospitality sector.

The MP says he is disappointed Warwickshire wasn’t placed in tier 2 a fortnight ago when cases were significantly lower.

But he also acknowledged the spike in cases it may have led to.

He said: “A fortnight ago, with case rates looking extremely promising for Warwickshire, it seemed inconsistent and misguided for us to be placed in tier 3 along with worse performing areas.

“And as a result, our hospitality sector suffered a devastating loss of revenue during its most crucial fortnight of the year.

“Following last week’s review, it is essential government steps in to support hospitality – with many businesses in my constituency fearing for their future and feeling let down.

“Being grouped with Coventry and Solihull – both areas, at the time, with higher case rates – at the request of Warwickshire County Council surely condemned us to tier 3.

“And other local councils and representatives were undemocratically excluded from discussions with the government.

“But with cases once again rising exponentially across the country, those circumstances have changed – and we must react as new data emerges.”

After conversations with business owners in his constituency, he says many claimed it would have been too late to move into tier 3 this week – with the costs of reopening outweighing potential revenues.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock decided Warwickshire should remain in tier 3 with cases for all age groups rising exponentially in Warwick, Rugby and Stratford over the last week.

Mr Western urged for Warwickshire communities to exercise caution and show resolve to bring cases back down.

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