Metro Mayor Sees Impact of “Lifeline” Funding as Hospitality Businesses Re-open

As pubs, bars and restaurants welcome customers indoors for the first time since early January, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is today (17 May) visiting businesses that received crucial emergency funding from the Combined Authority to help them survive Covid restrictions.

The Combined Authority has made available a vital £44 million lifeline to nearly 4000 businesses hit hard by the pandemic, through a range of grants delivered to businesses by the City Region’s six local authorities.

Initially targeted at hard-hit hospitality and retail businesses, the grants have also been available to all businesses that have seen a 40% cut in their sales or revenue.  The Combined Authority has worked closely with the City Region’s six local authorities, who have made sure the money has reached the businesses that need it.

Speaking about the visits, happening today (Monday, 17 May), Mayor Rotheram said:

“Throughout the last year, I’ve been working tirelessly to protect our region against COVID and put us in the strongest possible foundations to build on. We’ve spent tens of millions of pounds supporting the local economy, safeguarding thousands of local jobs and businesses. 

“It’s fantastic to visit some of the businesses we’ve been able to help – some of whom might not still be here without our support – to see how they’re getting on and spend a few quid. It’d be fantastic if we could give our local businesses a bit of extra support over the next few weeks and months – and please be patient with their staff! 

“We know how tough this last year has been for local businesses and, whilst we haven’t been able to help everybody, the Combined Authority and our local councils have done all we can to help support them through the pandemic.” 

The day started with a breakfast visit with Councillor Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, to Poco Bar and Cafe in Prescot.  Poco has benefitted from grants from the Combined Authority’s Hospitality and Leisure Fund worth £14,400.

Rich Sutton, joint owner of Poco Bar and Café, said:

“The last year has been hugely challenging and would have been for any business.  The financial support we have received from the Combined Authority was a real lifeline and one of the main reasons we are still here today.  It’s great to be able to welcome customers inside again and we can’t wait to really get back to normal over the summer.”

Cllr Graham Morgan, Leader of Knowsley Council, said:

“We have been working non-stop to support our local businesses, from making sure that they receive their grants swiftly to providing outdoor canopies to keep customers dry in the recent wet weather.  Our town centres and our town centre businesses are the beating heart of Knowsley and will be so instrumental in our economic recovery. It’s fantastic to see businesses like Poco getting back into their stride and welcoming more customers.”

At lunchtime, the Metro Mayor will visit Lunya Liverpool on Hanover Street, which also benefitted from emergency grants from the Combined Authority, worth £96,000.

Lunya owner, Peter Kinsella said:

“It’s impossible to overstate how difficult a year this has been.  We have been able to keep our online business going but it has been heart-breaking to see our restaurants in Liverpool temporarily closed due to pandemic restrictions.  In these challenging times the support from the Combined Authority has been vital in enabling us to keep going.  Hopefully we can now look forward to better times ahead.” 

Joanne Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said:

“Liverpool prides itself on the world class welcome it offers and our hospitality sector is a huge part of that, as well as being a major driver of our economy.  We’ve been doing all we can to support our pubs, bars and restaurants, as we saw in the Without Walls scheme, and it is wonderful to see them able to reopen properly.  Before too long we will hopefully be able to welcome back visitors from around the world but until then we can at least enjoy our city again and support these vital businesses and their employees.”

Liverpool City Council pioneered the Without Walls Fund, which generated additional sales of £8.9m in the hospitality sector.  The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority recently committed £2.3m to expand the outdoor hospitality support programme across the City Region.

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