Covid areas like Preston need extra cash help to avoid a 'tsunami' of business closures and job losses, says Labour
Labour has called for more Government cash for areas like Preston where extra Covid restrictions have had to be brought in to tackle a spike in cases.
And the city’s business community is asking everyone to take the “Preston Pledge” to work together to halt the spread of the virus.
The moves come after a rise in infections across the city forced the authorities to bring in tougher rules on social distancing from midnight on Friday.
Labour says that while many affected areas have already received funding to help businesses in distress, more needs to be done to avoid high streets “turning into ghost towns” and thousands of jobs being put at risk. The party claims £170m of grant cash remains unspent.
“It’s a week since local restrictions were put in place in Greater Manchester, and Lancashire yet there has been zero extra support for struggling businesses caught up in this public health crisis,” said Labour’s Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers .
“We’re seeing a wave of redundancies across the high street, threatening jobs and livelihoods, which could lead to ghost towns, as businesses are forced to shut up shop.
"Unless Ministers take action to provide extra help to firms, that wave will turn into a tsunami leading to lasting damage, and the loss of many thousands of jobs, weakening our economy and our ability to recover from the crisis.”
Labour claims that the Government’s £1.1bn Covid-19 grants programme for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in areas of local restrictions still has £170m left unspent. The cash could help 15,000 more businesses.
The Preston Pledge is an agreement between businesses in the city and members of the public to work hand in hand to protect each other.