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MP asks Chancellor to use Budget to back South Lakes businesses

February 12, 2021 5:13 PM

This afternoon, local MP Tim Farron has written to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to use next month's Budget to extend financial support to local businesses.

It comes as new figures from the Treasury reveal that Tim's Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency has the highest proportion of people on furlough anywhere in the country, with almost one in four workers currently signed up to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

In his letter to Mr Sunak, Tim asked for the furlough scheme, which is set to end in April, to be extended as well as a 12-month extension to the business rates holiday and the cut in VAT which both finish in March.

Meanwhile, Tim also made fresh calls for the Government to finally offer support to the almost 3 million people nationwide who have been excluded from the financial support schemes.

Writing to the Chancellor, Tim said: "Here in the South Lakes, where we rely massively on the hospitality, arts, culture and tourism industries, one in four of workers are currently on furlough - the highest proportion of any Parliamentary constituency or local authority.

"The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is set to end in just two months time with no sign that businesses will be able to reopen by then. Put simply, many of those businesses won't be able to afford to pay those wages and those workers will be sadly dumped on the dole.

"Businesses need certainty. They need to know when they will be able to reopen and that they will have enough financial support to help them get back on their feet.

"I understand that the question of when we restrictions can be lifted rests on some factors that are out of your control. Therefore that it makes even more important that businesses have the confidence that they will be supported in the months ahead.

"Having spent billions on keeping the economy afloat, it would be a complete dereliction of duty if you were to wind down this vital support and let those businesses go the wall when we are so close to the end of this crisis."