Chamber responds to Chancellor’s announcement of further support for businesses

Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement of further support for businesses, Subrahmaniam Krishnan-Harihara, Head of Research at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “Businesses across the UK and their employees will welcome the additional support that the Chancellor has today announced for areas with tier 2 restrictions. The measures announced are indeed an improvement in the support available to businesses struggling with the impact of increasing restrictions across the UK.

“Data gathered by the Chamber shows that many businesses in Greater Manchester are facing serious cash flow problems. The reduction in employers’ contribution to staff salaries will alleviate the cash pressures that businesses are facing. Although some backdated grants are now available, some businesses with rightly feel aggrieved that these support measures were not announced earlier, which could have provided certainty.

“Greater Manchester Chamber has consistently called for support to be commensurate with the restrictions imposed on businesses. There has also been concerted effort by everyone right across our city region to make clear to government why extra funding was a necessary factor to support Greater Manchester’s move to Tier3. The measures announced today will address some of the concerns that local leaders raised during their negotiations with central government. Yet, workers placed under the Job Support Scheme will have to forego one-third of their salary.

“Today’s intervention by the Chancellor is the sixth since March. While the Chancellor must be given credit for listening to the call from the Chamber of Commerce network for enhanced support, it does raise an important question: why are critical support programmes being announced piecemeal? Surely, it would be beneficial to offer clarity and chart a longer-term recovery path for businesses and their employees, who have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Without a longer-term programme of business support, the path to economic recovery will be thorny. Some level of restrictions are certain to remain in place for several months. The constraints placed on businesses’ ability to trade normally and reduced personal incomes and are like to dampen the crucial festive trading period.

“Ministers must now co-operate with local leaders to ensure that local needs are adequately met and offer flexibility to ensure that grants are quickly delivered to deserving businesses, including those in the hospitality supply chain.”

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About Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK, providing business support to approximately 4,500 members who collectively employ 446,000 people, around one-third of Greater Manchester’s workforce. Recognised as a leader in its field, Greater Manchester Chamber’s reputation in government circles has grown locally and nationally. At the heart of the area of greatest economic intensity outside London and the South East, the Chamber is the primary body for business support, policy, representation and networking. The Chamber is an independent, not-for-profit private company and its aim is to support businesses and help create the best climate for the region to prosper. This is achieved by ensuring that those taking decisions on key issues such as transport, taxation and business regulation hear the voice of our members. The representation of our members’ views is central to the work of the policy team at the Chamber; these views are gathered in a range of ways including our local councils, policy committees, sector councils, the main Chamber council, focus groups, meetings with politicians and consultations. The Chamber also offers a range of networking forums across Greater Manchester, free as part of membership, plus a variety of other events and services designed to benefit specific sectors or individuals and help businesses to grow.

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