TOWNS and city centres in Tier 3 areas will be severely damaged by the loss of Christmas trade and the Government’s failure to provide a fair financial support package, the Mayor of Greater Manchester has warned.
The Mayor has written to MPs in Greater Manchester calling on them to demand much better support for business in Tier 3 areas when the House of Commons debates these issues on Tuesday.
In the letter, Andy Burnham says that businesses that support hospitality – such as cleaning, catering, security and taxis – will be hit hard by the closure of the sector in the run-up to Christmas, putting thousands of jobs at risk in some of the poorest parts of the country.
The Government has said that discretionary business grant funding won’t be increased or extended even after the new tier system is introduced after national lockdown on 2nd December. This grant funding was given to all local authorities at the start of national lockdown to support business hit hard by restrictions but not getting grant funding from elsewhere. It means that places in Tier 3 will get no more such funding than other areas going into Tier 1 and Tier 2.
The Mayor believes that the formula used to calculate the funding – £20 per head of population – is unfair to cities and places with a larger hospitality sector and a higher number of business in the supply-chain. Andy Burnham is calling for areas in the highest level of restrictions to receive a monthly business support grant based on a formula linked to the number of affected business in any area rather than simply the number of residents.
He has also asked Greater Manchester MPs to join forces in a cross-party call for a meaningful review of the city-region’s Tier 3 status in two weeks, given that it is now recording the fastest decline in cases of any area in England.
The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The Government is continuing a policy of imposing harsh regional lockdowns without providing sufficient support to offset the damage to jobs and businesses.
“This is a deliberate act of levelling down from a Government which only a year ago was elected on a promise to do precisely the opposite.
“It simply cannot be right or fair that Tier 1 Cornwall and the Isle of Wight are receiving the same level of business support as cities such as Manchester, Leeds and Hull. MPs representing Tier 3 areas on all sides of the House need to come together and demand a much fairer support package from the Government.
“For businesses that support hospitality, December is traditionally the most important month of the year. To take that away without compensation will be devastating for them and many will not survive into the New Year.”