ECONOMIC fears amid the coronavirus crisis have been addressed by Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi.
Stratford businesses have been calling on the MP – who is also the junior minister for business – for clarity and reassurance after the government advised people to avoid establishments including pubs and restaurants.
Stratforward BID director Joe Baconnet called the advice ‘catastrophic’ for town centre businesses.
But yesterday the government announced a number of measures for the sector including £330billion in loans, £20billion in other aid, a business rates holiday, and grants for retailers and pubs.
Mr Zahawi added more ‘targeted measures’ would help those businesses which contribute to Stratford’s status as a tourism destination.
He said: “This situation is principally a public health emergency, however for obvious reasons it also presents an economic emergency. In the budget last week, the Chancellor announced a £30billion package to support business, jobs, incomes and the economy in the face of this pandemic and made clear that the government would go much further if required. That time has now come.
“The government has now announced an unprecedented package of guaranteed loans, making available to businesses an initial £330billion of guarantees. Any business, in any sector, of any size in immediate need of cash is eligible. If demand for loans outstrips this £330billion, capacity will be expanded to meet it. These loans will be available from the start of next week and details on applying for them, as well as details of additional measures of support for businesses, can be found on the www.gov.uk website.
“There are also more targeted measures for our retail, hospitality and leisure sectors – all of which have a particular prominence in Stratford given our status as an international tourist destination. All businesses in these sectors, irrespective of their rateable value, will be exempt from business rates for 12 months.
“I know that many of you will have further concerns that have not been addressed here. As always, I can be contacted at [email protected] or by phone on 01789 264362.
“This is of course a worrying time and my thoughts are with you all. If we band together, support one another – especially the elderly and vulnerable – in particular by following all of the public advice, we can and will get through this tough episode.”