After meeting Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Sunday morning with local MPs to discuss action to reduce escalating transmission rates, I have urged the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide support for Sheffield businesses that are being put at risk by Coronavirus suppression measures.
I explained how important the hospitality sector is in Sheffield Central, and the financial support needed to protect businesses hit badly by tier two measures.
Bars, cafes and restaurants must not be hung out to dry. Along with the music and events sectors, necessary health measures have diminished demand for these businesses, but they are not getting the support that would be available if they were required to close.
Without support, the measures needed to turn the tide on the virus will destroy hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs in Sheffield. The Government must step up to protect livelihoods, as well as lives.
Here is the full text of my letter:
I am writing to press the concern I raised with Matt Hancock yesterday during his online meeting with South Yorkshire MPs. We all support action that will bring down transmission rates of Covid-19 but need measures to be backed by proper support for businesses and jobs.
The hospitality sector is hugely important in my constituency and businesses have appealed to me about the way that tier 2 measures have caused a substantial drop in trade. As you know, these measures don’t require bars, cafes and restaurants to close, but prohibit contact between households; something that also applies in tier 3 for all but pubs without significant food services. You will recognise that meeting friends and family is the main reason most people go to pubs and restaurants, and so it is completely understandable that takings have reduced dramatically.
We need the sort of support package for this sector – and for related businesses in music, events and other sectors facing the same problem – that was available during the first lockdown, with improvements for those who fell through the gaps in that system. Without this support the measures that are needed to turn the tide on the virus will destroy hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs in Sheffield.
I urge you to provide full support for those businesses that are being made unviable by these measures, so that we can all work together to reduce transmission and protect jobs.
With best wishes