Bernard Little at Walkley Shops
Bernard Little at Walkley Shops

Bernard Little, a Green Party campaigner in Walkley, is calling for more government support to support small businesses to help them keep afloat due to the pandemic.

Bernard said,

“Small businesses contribute to our economy far more than big businesses … but the support being offered by the government so far is just not enough.”

The Green Party has highlighted that the financial support being offered so far is not good enough.  For example £1,300 a month payments won’t even cover rent for many businesses.

Ahead of Small Business Saturday, the Green Party had called for additional measures to support small businesses that have suffered heavy losses during the coronavirus pandemic.  The Greens’ five-point plan to help them keep going is:

  • Extend the business rate holiday into 2021/22 for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with the UK government providing compensation to local authorities for loss of income.
  • Increase the amount of support for small businesses that have had to close during lockdown and expand the criteria for those eligible.  The current payments offer a derisory £1,300 a month for those with a rateable value of £15,000, which for a lot of small businesses will not even cover rent.
  • Widen the amount of support for small businesses that have stayed open, such as nurseries, but are struggling due to the additional costs of Covid, through an additional discretionary grant for councils to administer.
  • Grant 15% of government contracts to small and micro businesses and revise the government contract application process to remove the current barriers for entry to small business
  • Extend the current tourism VAT cut through 2021 and expand by applying to food and drink served in pubs, bars and restaurants, on hotel bookings and on theatre, music concert and museum and gallery tickets.  This should form part of a process to review our VAT system outside the EU so that it differentially supports smaller shops compared to larger and online shops.

Bernard added,

“Small businesses make such a huge contribution to our local economy here in Walkley

“This year, we have already lost many small businesses and many more have been left fighting for survival as a result of the pandemic.  It is vital that the government steps up its support for these businesses which so many people rely on.

“Sheffield Council has already rolled out some support for small businesses but the level of support that many small businesses need will require more funding and support from the government.

“The Green Party’s five point plan would ensure many more are able to carry on providing their essential services that contribute so much to their communities and keeps money local, rather than letting it be eaten up by multinationals and swooshed off to the nearest tax haven.”