JULIE ELLIOTT: We need the Chancellor to do more to support businesses

The Budget that is to be presented by the Chancellor next week is an important one – it comes a week after the Prime Minister has presented his “roadmap” out of covid restrictions, and as different financial measures come to an end, it is a key time for businesses to plan for the future.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 12:00 am
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2021, 9:15 am
Businesses are still struggling or shut, and people are losing money every day because they are not able to work.

The Prime Minister is right about easing lockdown gradually – he has made this mistake before, easing restrictions too early and too fast, causing rates to rise again.

We can’t allow this to be repeated, and therefore the Government has taken the right approach by reviewing every four weeks, and then providing a week’s notice to that if the situation is to change.

I know that everyone is wanting to go back to normal, and whilst the prospect of the easing of restrictions is enticing, and gives us hope of the future, it is important that we continue to do the best we can to continue to socially distance, to wear our masks and limit our interaction in person with others to stop the spread of the virus.

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We must also remember to thank our NHS workers for all that they have done over the past year in dealing with the pandemic on top of their already heavy workload.

They have taken care of us and our loved ones, and they are doing an incredible job rolling out the vaccine to those on the priority list. A pay rise for our NHS workers should absolutely be in the budget next week.

It is positive that we have seen a remarkable level of take up of the vaccine in Sunderland. I would encourage you to go out and get a vaccine when offered one. It offers good protection against the virus, and it is safe.

The gradual easing of restrictions, and the rollout of the vaccine, gives us hope for the future, but there are still issues today that need to be sorted.

Businesses are still struggling or shut, and people are losing money every day because they are not able to work.

We need the Chancellor to do more to support businesses and the Government to commit to expanding the £500 self-isolation payment to all workers, to ensure that no-one has to is forced to go to work when it is unsafe because they can’t afford to stay at home and isolate.

It is for the good of public health and our economy.