Mayors Burnham and Rotheram call on the Chancellor to use supermarket windfall to help 3m excluded

Following the decision by a number of major retailers to return their business rates relief to the Treasury, Mayor of Manchester City Region, Andy Burnham, and Mayor of Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, have written to the Chancellor urging him to use the funds to help those who urgently need financial support.

The chairman of Tesco, John Allan, has also called for this, saying: “we hope this will enable additional support to those businesses and communities who need it”.

Whilst the Government has taken unprecedented action to support individuals and businesses throughout the pandemic, there are around 3 million people still excluded from meaningful financial support. This includes: the newly self-employed; new starters denied furlough; PAYE freelancers; and directors of small companies. There is also a concern that many hospitality businesses in Tier 2 and 3 areas have not been given sufficient funding to survive the loss of the profitable time of the year. Tier 3 areas have not been given any extra discretionary funding to support businesses in the supply-chain - including those in cleaning, catering and security - affected by pub and restaurant closures. 

Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “We know the Covid pandemic has created an unprecedented situation and everyone is doing what they can to support those who need the most help. Sadly, we’ve seen millions of people left out from meaningful Government support who have been in desperate need since the first lockdown in March.

“Myself and other Metro Mayors from all across England have been listening to those who have been left behind including over 600 people from the ExcludedUK and ForgottenLtd groups. It’s been heart breaking hearing the toll the lack of financial support has had on them, their mental health, on their families and on their business and their ability to keep on staff. We can’t just walk on by and abandon them. It’s immoral.”

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “These forgotten freelancers and contractors are entrepreneurs who form the backbone of our local economy. They pay their taxes but have been left with little or no Government support. That is a massive injustice. If the Chancellor fails to fix this, the Government will be sending out a very dangerous, anti-entrepreneurial message that it is too risky to strike out on your own and set up your own business.

“They are also risking the levelling down some of the poorest parts of the country. Wet-led pubs are at the heart of communities across the North and will not be saved by what’s currently on offer from the Government. The latest offer of £1000 might buy a beer keg or two but it won’t keep them afloat until March.

“With this new windfall, the Chancellor has a golden opportunity to bring in from the cold those who have been left out. We are urging him to take it.”

Article Published: 03/12/2020 20:03 PM