Small businesses and self-employed workers in the retail, leisure and hospitality sector underpin our city’s local economy and supporting these businesses and the local jobs they create through this pandemic is at the forefront of the Conservative government’s policies.
The Business Secretary has moved quickly to implement an extensive small business grants scheme and eligible businesses across England have received almost £1 billion in grants already.
Our retail, hospitality and leisure sector businesses are eligible for a cash grant of up to £25,000 and those that pay business rates will receive a tax holiday for the 2020-21 tax year.
This will help shops, restaurants, cafés, drinking establishments, cinemas and live music venues, hotels, guest and boarding premises and self-catering accommodation providers get through this crisis.
In addition, the Conservative government’s self-employment support scheme will support Brighton and Hove’s many enterprise-minded workers who have taken the risk to strike out on their own and are a key part of our local economy, while the government’s job retention scheme for furloughed employees will protect the jobs of employees.
And with further grants available for ambitious technologies that help boost the UK’s economic resilience to longer-term impacts of coronavirus, Brighton and Hove’s innovation sector could well be at the forefront of our country’s longer-term response.
Local councils have been given a key role in administering grants, including responsibility for collecting details from eligible businesses so that payments can be made as soon as possible.
The Conservative group will be holding the council administration to account to make sure that it is effectively administering these programmes and supporting our local businesses get through this period.
A webinar, running at various times this week, explains the support available for business to help them deal with the economic impact of coronavirus.
I encourage local businesses to participate through Gov.uk to make sure they are familiar with the grants available.
With the support of the Conservative government, Brighton and Hove’s retail, hospitality and leisure sector will have every chance to bounce back after the coronavirus crisis ends.
Councillor Steve Bell is the leader of the Conservative group on Brighton and Hove City Council.