Sheffield MP urges Chancellor to 'close the loophole' of Government support

A Sheffield MP has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ‘close the loophole’ to ensure those who are excluded from Government support during the pandemic are given access to vital funds throughout the winter.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 12:30 pm

Paul Blomfield said many people in the hospitality sector had fallen through the gaps of government support.

Speaking in Parliament, the Sheffield Central MP said: “One of my constituents opened a new bar in the summer but she shut it on the 23rd October as we went into Tier 3.

“She paid her workers for that week but she couldn’t get furlough support until the 1st November, because as a new business her staff weren’t eligible for registration with the previous scheme.

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Sheffield MP Paul Blomfield. Picture Tony Johnson.

“Now she is just one of many who the Chancellor will know have fallen through the gaps in his support scheme, so will he recognise the problem, act to close the loopholes, and provide the support that is needed particularly in the hospitality sector and its supply chain?”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak responded: “The Honourable Gentleman mentions support for the hospitality sector and bars.

“He will of course know that through initiatives like the business rates holiday which I’m sure his constituent benefitted from for this entire year up until the point that she was struggling, but also the cash grants that were for businesses earlier on in this crisis, the VAT discount, Eat Out to Help Out and further support provided to local authorities to support the supply chain. There is a significant amount of resource to help businesses like his constituent who I know have had an extremely difficult time.”

Sheffield’s pubs and hospitality sector remains shut due to its Tier 3 status. The Government will review the tiers on December 16.

Mr Blomfield later commented: “I’m disappointed that the Chancellor barely listened to my question, let alone answered it. As we come out of a national lockdown, the new measures are vital for saving lives from this appalling virus, and protecting the NHS – but the Chancellor must provide commensurate support to those whose livelihoods are affected by the restrictions.

“This is particularly clear in bars, cafes and restaurants in places like Sheffield with vibrant hospitality sectors – we must see support for those excluded.”

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