Cleaners, driving school instructors and hairdressers are among the companies worried about missing the government’s latest Covid support.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a £ 1 billion program to support businesses hit this winter by the latest wave of coronavirus infections.
But since most of these measures are expected to target pubs, restaurants and art venues, concerns have been expressed that others may fall through the cracks.
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“Small businesses don’t believe we’ll get the help we need,” said Rachel Douglas, a member of the LA7 Excluded group of Northeastern companies pushing for more support.
“We still haven’t recovered from the last confinement.
“The help we received was too late then and we are only coming back on a level playing field, but we still have not replenished our reserves to be able to face another winter without income. “
Douglas, who runs a cleaning company based in Seahouses, Northumberland, says she has recently seen a slight uptick in business as overseas travel restrictions have forced many people to rearrange scheduled trips, choosing instead to stay in the UK.
But she fears new restrictions, so far ruled out before Christmas Day, will erase it.
Others, however, had even less reason to be happy.
According to Douglas, a driving instructor involved in the LA7 Exclu group lost income after students were forced to cancel classes due to positive Covid tests.
Traders in the hospitality industry’s ‘supply chain’ such as prosthetists, hairdressers and clothing vendors have been affected by the Christmas holiday cancellation as many choose to self-moderate their behavior. due to the increased infection rates caused by the Omicron variant.
Among the measures announced by the government were one-off grants of up to £ 6,000 per room for businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector.
An additional £ 100million of ‘discretionary funding’ is also to be turned over to local authorities for distribution.
Douglas added: “Any business that can demonstrate a slowdown due to a Covid-related issue [should be entitled to support].
“There has to be a small business grant, not industry specific, just for anyone affected by a Covid-related downturn. “
A spokesperson for Northumberland County Council said: “We are awaiting more information from the government on the details of grant eligibility and administration and more information will be released to local businesses, including means to request support, when more details become available. ”
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