Louise Bennett

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say the latest round of support from the Chancellor will provide relief for many firms.

But the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce wants the Government to set out a long-term plan that not only helps companies survive the Covid crisis but build the recovery after it.

Grants of up to £9,000 have been made available for the retail, leisure and hospitality sector while a further £594 million is being given to local councils to offer discretionary grants to businesses that need support.

It is on top of the Chancellor’s announcement before Christmas that the furlough scheme would run until the end of April.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “After the announcement of the new lockdown, many businesses across our patch will be relieved to hear the Chancellor announcing a new round of support so quickly.

“It’s now vital that the money available gets out to the businesses that need it most as soon as physically possible in order to support their cashflow at this devastating time.

“We are pleased to see that there are also discretionary grants available through our local authorities, all of whom were incredible during the first lockdown in ensuring cash was distributed to those firms that were in need of help.

“However, what businesses really want to see now is a longer-term support package that is more than about surviving the next few weeks, but how they can plan for the rest of the year and not only come through the crisis but also grow out of it.”

Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “While this immediate cash flow support for business is welcome, it is not going to be enough to save many firms. We need to see a clear support package for the whole of 2021, not just another incremental intervention.

“The government must move away from this drip-feed approach and set out a long-term plan that allows all businesses of all shapes and sizes to plan, and ultimately survive.

“Many smaller firms won’t qualify for the full headline amounts set out in the Chancellor’s statement, and will be left struggling to see how this new top-up grant will help them out of their cashflow problems.

“Support must be sufficient to cover not just those on the front line of retail, hospitality and leisure, but also firms in supply chains and wider business communities who are also feeling the devastating impacts of these restrictions.”