"At last they've listened to the Northern leaders" - Lord's reaction to Sunak's financial package

Date published: 09 October 2020

Sacha Lord, the Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester, has reacted with mixed emotions to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's announcement that a new financial package will be available for staff working at UK businesses forced to close under new coronavirus restrictions.

They will be able to to have two-thirds of their salaries paid for by the Government.

It'll cover wages up to £2,100 a month - but employees must be off work for a minimum of seven straight days to be eligible.

Mr Lord said: "At last they've listened to the Northern leaders and the calls for an extension to furlough.

"We have always said we will support restrictions where financial help is in place, and now we can at least work with operators to ensure they are looked after. 

"While I'm pleased we've managed to secure this, however, I'm bemused that this package starts on November 1.

"The Government have clearly forgotten they closed entry to their existing furlough scheme in June. 

"If the North locks down on Monday, that appears to be three weeks without any financial support.

"These same operators were told by the PM only last month to take employees off furlough and to 'get back to work'.

"It's a kick in the teeth, but at this point, not unexpected.

"It's clear that they've scrambled around as a result of the backlash yesterday and straight talking from our Mayor, Andy Burnham, but going forward the Government must improve their strategies, planning and communications and announce packages at the same time as restrictions. 

"To continually announce closures, with zero regard for the businesses, and no information about financial support until days later is, at best, cruel. 

"I'm still concerned for the 700,000 freelancers in the sector.

"They have no financial support, no opportunity for furlough and have had no work since March.

"Hospitality is the public face of our sector but there is a huge ecology behind it, from suppliers, lighting companies, taxi drivers, security, performers and musicians.

"We need to continue to press to make sure they are not forgotten."

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