Update from Greater Manchester LEP co-chairs Lou Cordwell and Mo Isap on the COVID-19 crisis

The LEP, working with the Growth Hub, have already put in place much support to help businesses affected, with dedicated web pages available and advisors able to help companies with specific advice.  We will continue to work and listen to the concerns of all businesses and representative organisations and are making your voices heard. We urge businesses to visit the Business Growth Hub pages here and to contact their Banks and Business Advisors. The Growth Hub will be in contact with all Banks and the Business Advisor community to ensure that they have the latest information on support available to help businesses at this time.

We welcome the range of support Government has already announced including the Job Retention Scheme, Statutory Sick Pay Relief for SMEs, deferral of VAT and Income Tax payments alongside an HMRC Time to Pay scheme, which should give firms an essential breathing space to retain employees and prepare for recovery, but we do need urgency in ensuring the funding is available to businesses immediately.

We are working with Local Authority partners in Greater Manchester to ensure grants to eligible small businesses will be delivered shortly however, we are aware that financial pressures remain, as many mid-sized businesses who are not eligible for grant support may not be in a position to pay bills at the end of the month, therefore we need the Government to act with urgency to get funding out to where it is needed.

Following stay at home guidance for all non-essential businesses, we encourage the Government to go further and at speed to support the significant number of self-employed in Greater Manchester. This should include providing the same level of income protection as the Job Retention Scheme. Without these urgent measures, the self-employed will face very real financial difficulties in following the Government’s stay at home measures.

We also urge companies who may have spare capacity – for example accommodation, under-utilised workforce or manufacturing capacity – to get in touch with the Growth Hub, as this capacity might be vital in helping Greater Manchester come together to fight this virus.

If you can help with the current shortage of ventilators please visit the Government’s dedicated webpage. Otherwise if you have any immediate thoughts or offers please visit:  https://www.businessgrowthhub.com/coronavirus or contact 0161 359 3050