Government accused of 'short-changing the North' over business support

Labour has accused the Government of “short-changing the North” over support for businesses which the party says is less than a third of what was offered in March.

The party said businesses in Tier 3 areas, the highest level of restrictions, would get just £500 per week under new support plans compared with £1,666 per week in the first lockdown.

Meanwhile businesses in Yorkshire and across other Tier 2 areas will not be eligible for any additional support as they are not legally closed, despite facing tough social distancing measures that will reduce their income.

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Lucy Powell, Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, said: “The Government is short-changing businesses and communities across the North. Locking them down but offering just a third of the support given to businesses nationally during the first lockdown is a kick in the teeth that makes a mockery of the levelling up agenda.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Photo: PAChancellor Rishi Sunak. Photo: PA
Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Photo: PA

But Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday defended the support on offer as it was revealed businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber have received more than £3.3bn in Government support.

Some 94,000 loans have been given to businesses in the region and 147,000 self-employed people have received support.

In the Commons Mr Sunak said: “I’ve talked about facing up to the difficult truths clearly and we’re facing an economic emergency, but we’re acting on a scale commensurate with this emergency as we address my single biggest priority: to protect people’s jobs and their livelihoods.”

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While Business Secretary Alok Sharma added: “I know that times are tough for many sectors, employees and their families, but we will continue to stand with businesses to help them build back better as we kick-start our economic recovery.”