Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the government has provided a huge and unprecedented package of support to protect both lives and livelihoods through this incredibly challenging period.
In total, more than £160 billion has been provided as part of the Government’s economic response to coronavirus, and the latest statistics from the Treasury now show the scale of that support in our area:
- 15,200 people have had their job protected through the Job Retention Scheme, which has allowed employers to furlough workers while the Government has provided up to 80 per cent of their wages.
- Self-employed people locally have accessed £11,900,000 worth of Government grants, which do not need to be paid back, to cover lost earnings.
- £50,761,654 has been paid out to local businesses in the form of Bounce Back Loans, which provides loans of up to £50,000 within days of an application.
- £28,995,000 worth of grants has been handed out to businesses which do not need to be paid back.
This unprecedented package of support comes on top of 3,419 loans offered to businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber, worth £741,647,567.
Mr Jones said:
This year has been hugely challenging for people and businesses locally and these latest figures demonstrate the scale of support that the Government has put in place to support lives and local livelihoods. That support is ongoing with discretionary grant schemes from the local council and the popular ‘Rishi Meal Deal’ where you can get 50 percent of the cost of eating out up to a value of £10.
I know that there have been difficulties with the grants and loans in some cases but I do not underestimate the difficulties of moving tens of billions of pounds around the economy in a very short amount of time. I also think we should realise that in many cases the government relied upon local councils to get the cash to businesses and Harrogate Council was among the quickest in the country to do so.
But covid-19 isn’t by any means over yet. To ensure our area doesn’t go into lockdown again we need to wash our hands, cover our face and give others space. If we don’t we may see measures re-introduced as they have been in areas not too far away. That will do a second wave of damage to businesses.
Of course not every business and every job has survived to this point and there will be more pain before we are clear of covid-19. That is a source of huge regret to me and to our community. The scale of the support as demonstrated in these figures prevented a total collapse of our local and national economy and, while there are challenges ahead, we have avoided that ultimate calamity.