Julian presses Ministers on easing lockdown to save local businesses
November 10, 2020
Today in the House of Commons, Julian Sturdy questioned Ministers in the Department for Business on lifting restrictions after this month’s lockdown to help York businesses survive.
At Questions to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Julian Sturdy asked: “The government’s new support measures for businesses provide a genuine lifeline, however support to stay closed is not the long-term answer, and many will only remain viable if they can be open be as normal for the pre-Christmas season.
So can I ask what the Minister is doing to urgently lobby government and the Prime Minister on the necessity of keeping businesses, and getting them reopened from the 2nd of December, including hospitality, which is so important to a city like York”.
Minister Nadhim Zahawi responded: “I absolutely agree with him, it [financial support to stay closed] is not the long-term answer, and I fully appreciate that retailers across England will be desperate to reopen in time for the important Christmas trading period.
The regulations, as the Prime Minister said, will expire on the 2nd of December, and we will return to the local restrictions thereafter, the tiered system, and of course Ministers and officials are regularly engaging across government, including my colleagues in BEIS [Department for Business] to ensure the sector can reopen safely on the 2nd of December.”
On leaving the House of Commons, Julian Sturdy said: “I was reassured by the clarity of the Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi on exiting national lockdown back to the tiered system based on local risk from 2nd December, but I will be very disappointed and concerned if York does not come straight out into tier 1 (medium alert) next month, and will take action accordingly.
York residents have made sacrifices to drive our local coronavirus cases down lower than they were at the time we were put into tier 2 (high alert) pre-new lockdown, and the government have to give local people hope that their self-denial will be rewarded.
Moreover, local businesses need to be able to trade as normally as possible before Christmas unless we want to wake up to a New Year of shuttered high streets and steeply rising unemployment, and with ongoing social distancing, tier 1 restrictions are basically as far as many enterprises can afford to go if they are to remain viable.”