Today I urged the Government to provide support to businesses, jobs and individuals now and as we move along the road out of lockdown.
While it’s right that they are taking a cautious approach to reopening the economy, the Government must provide support to those parts that will remain closed for the first phases. I told Parliament that the hospitality sector and night time economy, which provide thousands of jobs in Sheffield, must be supported as we ‘unlock’.
I pressed for the Government to provide support for those who have fallen through gaps in the assistance offered so far and to agree to Labour’s proposals for continued VAT and business rates relief. I highlighted the challenges to hospitality businesses in first opening partially and called for a ‘smart’ furlough scheme to support their jobs through continuing restrictions.
I also raised the plight of students again, as yesterday the Government confirmed that many won’t be allowed back to campus until after Easter at the earliest.
Since the 2012 fees increase, part-time work has provide vital income to sustain many students at university. Maintenance loans don’t cover rent for many students let alone other living costs.
The jobs they depend on, in hospitality and retail, have disappeared in the pandemic, so I again raised our APPG for Students report and called for substantial additional hardship support – beyond the paltry £36 a head provided by the Government.
You can watch my speech below.