Ben Lake MP urges Chancellor to extend financial support to businesses unable to reopen safely


As many retail shops and businesses reopen their doors to customers across Wales this week, for a significant number of Ceredigion’s businesses reopening will not be a viable option, and it is possible that some sectors will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Ben Lake MP has welcomed the announcement of the Welsh Government’s road map for reopening a broader range of shops from this week onwards. He stated: "Safety is the fundamental concern for all retailers and I am aware that many local shops have worked hard in recent weeks to implement measures that will enable them to operate safely.”

For some sectors and businesses however, reopening and adhering to social distancing measures is either impossible or would render their operation financially unviable, and in Parliament last week, Ben Lake MP urged the UK Government to extend financial support to those businesses.

In response, the Minister stated that the UK Government will continue to keep all measures to support individuals and businesses “under constant review”.

Ben Lake MP has also requested the UK Government be ready to exercise “flexibility” in relation to its Job Retention Scheme, and allow continued access to businesses that will either have to remain closed, or operate at a reduced capacity, due to restrictions.

Mr Lake said:

“Whilst some businesses will have welcomed back customers this week, many businesses remain extremely concerned for their future. For sectors that are not allowed to reopen due to current restrictions, or for businesses unable to reopen safely according to social distancing guidelines, it is crucial that financial support is made available to them.

“Businesses should not be punished for doing the right thing in this regard, and the UK Chancellor could help them by ensuring that they have continued access to support schemes such as the furlough scheme.

"I fear that unless the plan to phase out the Jobs Retention Scheme across the board is amended to take into account the different challenges that businesses in different sectors and areas face, there is a real risk that all the hard work – and expense - that has been done to save many jobs during this pandemic will be in vain.”

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