Following a conference call with city region businesses and economic stakeholders earlier today, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:
“This morning I chaired a productive call with local business, trade unions, social economy leaders, business support organisations, our councils and government representatives.
“We all agreed that during this very uncertain and worrying time it is important that co-ordinated city region wide action is being put in place, so that we can be clear with government as to exactly what the needs of local businesses and third sector organisations are.
“The passion to protect our jobs and our businesses was clear. There was a clear message that while recent government announcements on financial support packages were welcome, we all need information about how to access funding, and what the criteria are for receiving support. There was a very strong feeling that ministers need to provide clarity to them on this immediately.
“However the support arrives, I encourage companies to speak to their bank, their landlord, their main customers and their supply chain as soon as they can. When government funding comes, relationships with these groups will still be crucial. I would urge all businesses to take that action now, as a first step, so they are in a position to access government funding as soon as it becomes available.
“More broadly, as well as protecting businesses we also need to protect jobs and workers. We have already seen redundancies announced today and despite yesterday’s announcements many ordinary people are still wondering what help will be provided to them. Many households are facing a potential loss of income, so this omission needs to be addressed urgently.
“One option I would encourage the government to consider is for them to provide short-term payroll grants, or similar to cover the cost of wages during this crisis. A measure like this, paid straight to employees, would not only ease the burden on businesses faced with reduced demand – protecting jobs and household incomes now – but would also ensure that money goes directly into people’s pockets, which in turn will help to sustain the economy during the next few months.
“I will continue doing everything I possibly can, working closely with key representatives of our business community, to connect our LCR businesses to the help they need and to get that help in place now.”