Lifeline council fund for local pubs and restaurants to be launched

Banks Road, West Kirby - earmarked for improvements
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An emergency local aid package is to be launched across Merseyside which could benefit struggling hospitality and leisure industry businesses in West Kirby and Hoylake.

Local authority leaders across Liverpool City Region – including Wirral – have today announced they have set aside £40 million to help venues struggling under new coronavirus lockdown measures which have been imposed in our area.

Under new restrictions which came into force on Saturday, it is against the law for households to mix indoors, and it is also strongly advised that people from different families don’t get together outdoors either.

The move – designed to bring down the spiralling COVID-19 infection rate – is expected to hit restaurants and pubs hard.

Blind Pig, a bar on Banks Road in West Kirby, has already closed its doors temporarily as it believes the new rules are “impossible to enforce and control”.

Blind Pig on Banks Road has already closed its doors temporarily

In a joint statement, the leaders – including Wirral Council’s Janette Williamson – said: “The new Covid-19 restrictions will make the already perilous situation for our economy even tougher than it already is. As Leaders of the Liverpool City Region, we all understand why further restrictions may be needed to halt the spread of Covid-19 in the communities we represent. But we also know that at the same time they will deal a hammer blow to our economy and in particular to our vital hospitality and leisure sector, on which over 50,000 jobs depend across our region.

“We want to send a message to those businesses that we understand the pain you are going through, your fight to survive and that we stand with you. We have made it clear to the Government that with new restrictions must come a comprehensive package of financial support for our economy and that this is particularly urgent for businesses in your sector, many of which have already reached breaking point.

“We pledge to you that we are doing everything we can to convince the Government to help. But we know that this is not enough and that words will not help you pay your staff, your rent or your suppliers.

“And, as elected leaders, we are collectively committed to Build Back Better from Covid-19. But we know that once a business is gone it is gone and that if we do not act now to protect our economy from these new restrictions, we risk having nothing to build back from.

“So, our teams have worked at full-tilt, in partnership across the Combined Authority and our six Local Authorities, to identify and re-purpose funds for an up to £40million in to a package of emergency interim financial support, aiming to support as many businesses in the hospitality and leisure sector as we possibly can.

“We have taken this extremely difficult decision with the aim of providing last resort, stop-gap funding to keep viable businesses going in the short-term and protect as many jobs as possible while we continue to lobby the Government to invest in our economic survival and our future recovery.”

Market Street in Hoylake, which has many hospitality businesses

Details of how to apply for the fund are expected to be released later this week.

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