WARRINGTON South MP Andy Carter has welcomed extra investment announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak for businesses hit by Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Carter spoke in the House of Commons on Tuesday, urging the UK Treasury to give targeted support for firms hit by the new tier restrictions to safeguard jobs within the local hospitality sector in Warrington.

In an opposition day debate on economic support for areas with local restrictions, the MP urged the Chancellor to provide additional grants and provide specific support to sectors disproportionally affected by the pandemic, including pubs, bars and restaurants in Warrington South.

He said both Hop Co in the town centre and the Red Lion in Stockton Heath were left struggling to cope with the costs of opening and the fall in custom due to the 10pm curfew and the ban on friends meeting indoors.

The MP said that the local tourism, outdoor education, leisure, hospitality, and arts sector required immediate assurances so that jobs could be protected over the winter months and that a targeted investment to support these sectors was a necessity.

Mr Carter said: “I am pleased that the Chancellor has been able to respond to the concerns of local business with this package which will support many across Warrington South. I’ve always said that we need to do everything we can to encourage businesses to retain staff where possible and this funding should give them the confidence to do so.

“The impact has been far greater than many may have anticipated and speaking to businesses such as the Hop Co in Warrington, they have spent thousands on making their establishments covid secure so the additional grant funding of up to £2,100 per month will be a massive help.”

This lunchtime, Thursday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the following measures to support business and families:

  • Increasing the eligibility and generosity of the Job Support Scheme. Employers will now have to pay just 5 per cent of hours not worked – down from 33 per cent previously, as well as NICs and pension costs. These changes will mean the maximum government contribution to employment costs will increase from £697.92 to £1,541.75 per month.
  • Additional funding through the Local Restrictions Support Scheme to provide grants to businesses in Tier 2 areas which are not forced to close, but which are facing reduced demand due to social distancing. These new grants will be equivalent to 70 [per cent of the grants given to legally closed businesses and will be backdated until August.
  • Increasing the value of that self-employed grant from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of three-month earnings, for November to January. This will mean the maximum available grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750 for the self-employed.

This announcement comes as Warrington Borough Council is set to receive an extra £2.7million to support vital services across the town, announced today.

Warrington also stands to benefit from a further £100 million which will be used to establish a new fund to support council leisure centres that are most in need, in recognition of the ongoing challenges many local authority leisure centres are facing.