An emergency fund of up to £40million has been revealed today in a bid to rescue Liverpool City Region’s crucial hospitality and leisure sector from economic collapse.
A joint announcement by the Metro Mayor and the Mayor and Leaders of the city region’s six local authorities said that the fund will hopefully serve as a stop-gap until financial support from Government nationally is in place.
The sector employs more than 50,000 jobs in 4,000 business and contributes £5billion a year to the region. More than 200 businesses in the sector have already been lost to Covid-19 and many more would have followed without support provided to date.
Ubiquity’s Joel Jelen, well known on the hospitality scene for many than 20 years said:
“The emergency stop-gap fund is a direct response to new government restrictions, which came into force on October 3rd, forbidding people from mixing with other households in indoor venues – including pubs, bars and restaurants. The restrictions are a further hammer blow to many businesses, which are already at breaking point. Lots of very talented, dedicated and seasoned operators across this sector have literally been saying, in light of no further help, ‘what the hell are we supposed to do now’.
In a joint statement, speaking directly to businesses in the sector, the leaders said:
“The new Covid-19 restrictions will make the already perilous situation for our economy even tougher than it already is.
“As Leaders of the Liverpool City Region, we all understand why further restrictions may be needed to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we represent. But we also know that at the same time they will deal a hammer blow to our economy and in particular to our vital hospitality and leisure sector, on which over 50,000 jobs depend across our region.
“We want to send a message to those businesses that we understand the pain you are going through, your fight to survive and that we stand with you.
“We have made it clear to the Government that with new restrictions must come a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and that this is particularly urgent for businesses in your sector, many of which have already reached breaking point.
“We pledge to you that we are doing everything we can to convince the Government to help.
“But we know that this is not enough and that words will not help you pay your staff, your rent or your suppliers.
“And, as elected leaders, we are collectively committed to Build Back Better from Covid-19. But we know that once a business is gone it is gone and that if we do not act now to protect our economy from these new restrictions, we risk having nothing to build back from.
“So, our teams have worked at full-tilt, in partnership across the Combined Authority and our six Local Authorities, to identify and re-purpose funds for an up to £40million in to a package of emergency interim financial support, aiming to support as many businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector as we possibly can.
“We have taken this extremely difficult decision with the aim of providing last resort, stop-gap funding to keep viable businesses going in the short-term and protect as many jobs as possible while we continue to lobby the Government to invest in our economic survival and our future recovery.
“The fund is expected to launch this week (commencing 5th October). We hope to process applications within a week to meet the urgent needs of successful applicants. “The process will be coordinated through local authorities, just as previous government grants were earlier this year.”