Brighton and Hove Greens have called on the Government to ensure businesses forced to close over lockdown receive adequate support, including the provision of further funding to councils to provide grants and loans.
Pointing to the local economy’s dependence on the culture, tourism and hospitality industries, Greens said that a failure to provide substantial financial support to cover loss of income could put many jobs and businesses in the city at risk.
Following early indications from the Government that business support may become available, Greens said that lessons must be learnt from the last lockdown period to allow the council to prioritise these vital industries.
Last month, economists from the New Economics Foundation calculated that the National Job Support Scheme was likely to protect fewer than 1 in 5 (17%) of jobs at risk from redundancy.
Council Leader Phélim Mac Cafferty said:
“Brighton and Hove’s communities have already shown steely commitment and will do so once again. But there must be solid commitments from the Government to ensure that vital industries in our city are protected.
“The arts, culture, tourism and hospitality businesses are our city’s lifeblood. Yet many were failed by the last business grants scheme. This time the Government must get it right and ensure they are supported through the second lockdown period.
“Although there have been assurances from ministers that factories can stay open, the unique nature of our local economy will see many employers forced to close, taking another blow to their incomes.
“Obviously I welcome the extension of the furlough scheme, I remain concerned the late announcement regarding lockdown means many employers will have already made plans and will have included redundancies.
“I also remain concerned about the impact of a second lockdown on the self-employed and join trade unions and business leaders urging the government to halt the planned cut in Universal Credit support payments to self-employed workers. We will be doing what we can to support local businesses and employees while pushing for the strongest support from government in the weeks ahead.”