Published — 24 September, 2020

Local MP, Andrew Jones, welcomes latest economic assistance for individuals and businesses


Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough, has welcomed the assistance provided to individuals and businesses throughout the coronavirus pandemic to date.

In Harrogate, Knaresborough, Boroughbridge and the surrounding villages, the Government has provided the following support:

  • Funding 136,000 meals through the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to the cost of £931,000.
  • Paid the wages of 15,800 employees across the constituency.
  • Assisted 3,900 self-employed people.
  • Guaranteed 1,794 bounce bank loans worth £50.7 million.
  • Guaranteed another 94 Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans worth £22.1 million.
  • Provided vital business grants to help keep businesses afloat totalling £28.9 million.

In addition there have been tax deferrals to help businesses with cash flow.  This support is just part of the national effort to help businesses stay in business and individuals able to pay the bills and stay home during lockdown. 

Since the emergency lockdown measures of March we have seen businesses reopen, and millions come off furlough. The last three months have seen economic growth.

Today the Chancellor of the Exchequer outlined the next stage of the Government’s economic plan with one main priority – to save and protect jobs.  As the coronavirus pandemic develops and changes, so the support schemes have evolved.   

The Jobs Support Scheme now allows businesses to keep employees in employment while reducing their hours to at least a third of their normal hours.  For the hours not worked, the cost would be split three ways, with the Government, the employer and employee sharing the cost, but the employee’s job is protected. Self-employed people will continue to be able to access Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

Businesses with government-backed loans, can extend their repayment period to ten years in order to assist their cashflow.  The deadline to apply for these loans has been extended to the end of this year.  VAT bills that had been due to be paid in March, delayed from this year, will be spread over 11 smaller payments with no interest payable.

Bespoke support for hospitality and tourism were also revealed, which will be key for many businesses in Harrogate & Knaresborough.  These businesses will see their VAT rate stay at 5 per cent until 31 March 2021 thanks to an extension by the Chancellor.

Our country is not facing the economy of March, when we were at the height of the strict lockdown.  So as the economic situation changes and the need changes, the support package evolves.  I welcome the package announced today, and said so in the House.  Business groups have welcomed it too.

“I am particularly pleased that the Chancellor has sought to protect jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors further by retaining the lower 5 per cent VAT rate until the end of March.  These sectors are important to Harrogate & Knaresborough, and we need them to be strong in the coming months as that helps our whole area.”

Andrew Jones MP, Harrogate & Knaresborough

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