Wirral and the wider Liverpool City Region has seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 infections, as a result we are now in the highest category of UK Government’s new traffic light system. The health of our residents and wellbeing of our local people is imperative and we understand why this must be prioritised. By containing the virus we can protect our National Health Service from being overwhelmed and ultimately save the lives of our most vulnerable residents.
Whilst we understand health & wellbeing must be prioritised, it does not take away the fact that our business community is hurting. Particularly our hospitality and leisure businesses. This is on the back of months of additional restrictions without the additional financial support. It’s our hospitality and leisure businesses that are bearing the brunt of the UK’s measures to protect our health.
We know from our conversations with our businesses across Wirral that time is running out. From cashflow to capacity, they need an expansive funding package to help at the very least cover their incurring costs. For our businesses who can remain open, the heightened restrictions are suffocating footfall across Wirral. Particularly within our hotels, restaurants and visitor attractions. To be clear, we feel that the impact of the additional lockdown measures since the start of the year have had a disproportionate impact on our hospitality sector. Furthermore, the mental health of its thousands of Wirral workers. This is not fair.
Our businesses are not asking for much. They need:
- Certainty, they want to know precisely what, where and when any measures are put in place. Delivered in a clear and concise manner to enable them to forward plan.
- Fairness, they wanted to be treated with the respect they deserve as wealth & job creators with a consistent approach in supporting all sectors.
- Funding, they need the funding they deserve to protect livelihoods and their businesses from going under.
- Future Investment, fundamentally they need confidence that in the future they will receive the investment they will need to bounce back and trigger a new economic uplift.
The latest Government funding package is a short term fix when what our businesses need is a long term solution. With winter looming, our businesses need a substantial funding package to prevent further decline in our communities and major job losses. We deserve better than this and believe the government can learn a lot from our own local response – The Wirral Partnership rallied together, private sector, public sector and third sector organisations all working cohesively as part of one local response effort. Wirral Borough Council was one of the quickest local authorities in the north to support our businesses with over £47 million worth of business grants. Fielding thousands of calls from residents and businesses.
As a city region, our leaders are in an impossible position. With measures being imposed on us by central-government, their hands have been firmly tied. The government need to do less talking and more listening to our local leaders who have a greater understanding into the local impact on the economy. We absolutely agree with Steve Rotheram and all our city region leaders, you cannot lockdown the north on the cheap.
As your Chamber of Commerce, we will not rest in representing you with our local leaders and central government. We are committed to working in partnership with all our colleagues across the Liverpool City Region, with our businesses and communities to get through this. We are calling on Wirral Borough Council, The Wirral Partnership, politicians, businesses and residents to continue our hard work in supporting our businesses and communities.
We can and will get through this, but only if we work together.