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Julian Sturdy - Strong Voice for York Outer

Julian Sturdy

Member of Parliament for York Outer

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Julian questions Ministers on saving York businesses through allowing trading as normally as possible

December 15, 2020

Today in the House of Commons, ahead of Wednesday’s review of tiered covid restrictions, Julian again pressed Ministers at the Department for Business on the reality that many local businesses have to be able to resume conventional trading without further weeks of higher tier restrictions, but with covid-secure measures, to avoid going under.

At Questions to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Julian asked:

“With the imminent review of tiers, can Ministers reassure me that they are pushing firmly within government on the fact that many businesses, especially in places like York, where the virus is very low, are at the stage where they can no longer be subsided for low footfall or to stay closed, but need to be able to trade as normally as possible to ultimately survive?”

Minister Paul Scully responded for the government:

I know the hospitality business in York has been affected, as it has around the country. Yes, we will continue to look at this and, when the data allows, we will move York and other areas into more forgiving tiers. For the hospitality sector—as I say, it welcomes Government support, largely, but wants customers—this is what is going to help the pubs, bars and restaurants in York and beyond to be able to survive and thrive.”

After leaving the Commons chamber, Julian said:

I was a little reassured by the Minister’s reiteration of their intention to move areas like York down the tiers as soon they judge the evidence allows for this.

The government has to know that, even with the solid government support, many enterprises are reaching the end of the road, and we risk drifting into a period of significant economic scarring which will undermine our ability to pay for the ongoing pandemic response.

Monday’s decision to only put parts of Essex and Hertfordshire into tier 3 alongside London was therefore a welcome sign that economy-busting higher tier restrictions are now being more carefully targeted, rather than applied across whole counties within which the virus rate may vary widely. This is a hopeful indication for York businesses that we may soon see tiered restrictions in line with the city’s risk, ensuring a more proportionate response that protects both residents and their livelihoods.”