ECONOMIC RESPONSE AND RECOVERY
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve and present an unprecedented economic challenge to our city region. It has been clear from the start that the scale of the immediate and long-term financial support required to our economy, which will run to the hundreds of millions, cannot be met from local resources alone.
We know that 95% of our businesses have been affected and, whilst many have thrived, many more continue to face unprecedented challenges. Our top economic priority since the start of lockdown has been to help our businesses, listening closely to the community’s needs, working with many partners across all sectors, and robustly engaging with central government to secure the large-scale financial support packages required.
Working with the other Metro Mayors and Combined Authorities, we have been successful in changing national policy, speeding up advice to business, securing support for the self-employed and extending the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to smaller businesses, while dropping the need for banks to require personal guarantees. £300 million worth of grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 were made available via our Local Authority partners.
Within the local resources available to us, we have repurposed funds to set up a dedicated helpline and online resource hub via the Growth Platform to help businesses preserve their cash, understand their options and access the maximum possible support from government programmes. And, amongst other interventions like the £400,000 Music, Film and TV Fund, we are providing business advice and support via new programmes like Gather, Mettle and Sustain and supporting the City Region’s vital socially trading organisations, through Kindred, working in partnership with Power to Change.
Alongside this and from the very start, the Combined Authority has also been planning with our partners for economic recovery, so that when we get through the crisis, our city region will rebound as soon as we can.
In August, we published Building Back Better: The Economic Recovery Plan for Liverpool City Region. This commits us to deliver our mission for a globally competitive, environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive city region and our determination to deliver this remains undimmed.
Of course, the coronavirus has not gone away and while we continue to respond to help minimise it’s spread it remains absolutely vital that we continue, in parallel, our work on economic recovery so that we will ultimately build back better.