Cllr Asima Shaikh, the council’s executive member for inclusive economy and jobs, has called on the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to urgently help firms that have fallen through the cracks between the Government’s various aid packages and rescue measures.
Cllr Shaikh last week set out six key asks of Alok Sharma MP, which together would help alleviate the threat to many small businesses still under severe pressure from the effects of the lockdown, and save many hard-working entrepreneurs from financial ruin:
- Review the rateable value thresholds for the Small Business Grant fund, which currently excludes large numbers of small businesses due to Islington’s land values;
- More financial support for small and micro-enterprises operating in co-working spaces;
- Sector-specific tapering of the furlough scheme beyond October, where required;
- A package of support for the cultural production business sector;
- Appeal to larger landlords to improve rent holiday offers in line with the gradual lifting of the lockdown;
- Compel insurance companies to fulfil their obligations to small business customers.
Cllr Shaikh said: “I welcome the package of financial support the government has given to businesses in Islington to date, which has been a life-saver for many firms.
“We have already distributed almost £50million of grant aid to small businesses, reaching 85% of our targeted businesses within the first month, and will continue to get the rest to companies as quickly as possible.
“But there is a real sense of fear and insecurity among many small businesses; there are several issues that have allowed some to fall through the cracks of the emergency provision put in place, and the impact of the pandemic continues to threaten their very existence.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of Islington’s town centres and high streets, and it’s vital that the local economy is protected.
“Residents can do their bit by shopping locally and the council is doing everything it can – but the government must also seize the opportunity and act to protect local economies, before it is too late.”
Notes to editor