MP calls for discretionary funds to focus on those excluded from previous schemes


MP for North East Bedfordshire, Richard Fuller, today (January 5, 2021) welcomed the additional taxpayer funded support for businesses which comprises:

  • One-off top up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses through to the Spring plus
  • a £594 million discretionary fund available to support other impacted businesses.

These top up the previously announced additional £1.1 billion further discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities, Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000 a month and the extension of furlough scheme

Commenting, Richard Fuller said: “Many businesses will have already run down reserves, or missed out on the important Christmas trade, so these expenditures are a necessary minimum addition to existing schemes such as the Job Retention scheme which has already been extended to the end of April.”

“I am however concerned that the Treasury has not more clearly earmarked support for those small business directors, freelancers and others who have not yet been able to access any of the existing schemes. 

“I would hope that the two local authorities that cover my constituency – Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council – will do what they can within the rules of the schemes to help these businesses.”

“Beyond this January package of support, we need to be thinking about how to support our hardest hit businesses recover in the Spring.

“High on my list for attention will be our local pubs which have faced a triple whammy with a November lockdown, the loss of the Christmas trade and now the extended further lockdown. 

“We should not allow this pandemic to claim our pubs which are the heart of many towns and villages across Bedfordshire and our country.”

Sign up for your daily digest of local Bedfordshire news here: