I know how difficult and challenging the current situation is for businesses, traders, freelancers and self-employed workers who have not been eligible for government support since the pandemic began.
This has left millions facing an extremely precarious financial situation; with many forced to rely on ever-dwindling savings, or the generosity of friends and family to simply stay afloat. Local traders in Barnsley and South Yorkshire will be wondering how to feed their children, or keep the heating on, over what will be undoubtedly the most difficult Christmas in decades.
As a local MP and as the South Yorkshire Mayor, I’ve worked around the clock to support those excluded from government support.
At the beginning of the first national lockdown I wrote to the Chancellor calling on him to extend support for those who would otherwise fall through the cracks. I’ve raised the issue of financial support for self-employed workers in Parliament and will continue to do so. And I called on the Government to provide parity between employed and self-employed workers when local case numbers began to rise in September.
As Mayor, and alongside our council leaders, I secured a £41 million local lockdown lifeline to support businesses and communities as South Yorkshire entered Tier 3 restrictions and I’m working closely with them to get that support to where it is needed, as quickly as possible. Since the second national lockdown was introduced I’ve continued to press the Government for additional financial support to be put in place. I would urge any business or trader in in South Yorkshire is has fallen on hard times and is struggling to weather the storm of the Coronavirus to get in touch with their local council’s Business Support Team or with the Sheffield City Growth Hub which are stood by ready to provide practical support and guidance.
Finally, I am calling on the Government to do the right thing and ensure that all those who need support receive it and we help safeguard our economy through the most difficult crisis in living memory.