Earlier in the week Andy Carter the MP for Warrington South urged the UK Treasury to underpin Covid-19 control measures with targeted support to safeguard jobs within the local hospitality sector in Warrington.
In an opposition day debate on Economic Support for areas with local restrictions, the MP urged the Chancellor to provide additional grants and provide specific support to sectors disproportionally affected by the pandemic, including pubs, bars and restaurants in Warrington South.
The MP said that the local tourism, outdoor education, leisure, hospitality, and arts sector required immediate assurances so that jobs could be protected over the winter months and that a targeted investment to support these sectors was a necessity.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak responded in the House of Commons today with the following measures to support business and families:
- increasing the eligibility and generosity of the Job Support Scheme. Employers will now have to pay just 5% of hours not worked – down from 33% previously, as well as NICs and pension costs. These changes will mean the maximum government contribution to employment costs will significantly increase from £697.92 to £1,541.75 per month.
- additional funding through the Local Restrictions Support Scheme to provide grants to businesses in Tier 2 areas which are not forced to close, but which are facing reduced demand due to social distancing. These new grants will be equivalent to 70% of the grants given to legally closed businesses and will be backdated until August.
- increasing the value of that self-employed grant from 20% to 40% of three-month earnings, for November to January. This will mean the maximum available grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750 for the self-employed.
This also comes as Warrington Borough Council is set to receive an extra £2.7m to support vital services across the town, announced today.
Warrington also stands to benefit from a further £100 million which will be used to establish a new fund to support council leisure centres that are most in need, in recognition of the ongoing challenges many local authority leisure centres are facing. This means that councils will have a £1 billion extra in funding this winter, with more details of the support for leisure centres to be set out shortly.
Commenting on the funding announcements, Andy said:
I am pleased that the Chancellor has been able to respond to the concerns of local business with this package which will support many across Warrington South. I’ve always said that we need to do everything we can to encourage businesses to retain staff where possible and this funding should give them the confidence to do so.
“The impact has been far greater than many may have anticipated and speaking to businesses such as the Hop Co in Warrington, they have spent thousands on making their establishments covid secure so the additional grant funding of up to £2,100 per month will be a massive help.