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MP demands measures to support Warwickshire hospitality businesses on back of Tier 3 decision

MP Matt Western has called for urgent support for small businesses with Warwickshire remaining under Tier 3 restrictions.

The Warwick and Leamington MP joined calls for business rates paid by supermarkets to be reinjected into the struggling hospitality sector.

After a startling rise in cases, Warwickshire learned yesterday (December 17) that it would remain in Tier 3 under the strictest COVID-19 restrictions.

Mr Western says there are over 100 businesses in Leamington Spa alone with rent that needs paying and jobs at risk.

In response, Mr Western has called on the government to use more than £2billion in business rates paid by major supermarkets to bailout smaller traders.

Supermarkets waived their business rates relief and paid in full after an outcry over the size of shareholder dividends as COVID-19 heavily damaged smaller businesses.

Mr Western has also pledged support to the aims of the Bounce Back Better campaign which has outlined a package of measures to save businesses amid tier restrictions.

These include 100% discount on business rates, one-off grants and VAT fixed at 5% for the hospitality sector.

Mr Western says he is disappointed Warwickshire wasn’t placed in Tier 2 a fortnight ago when cases were significantly lower.

But he also acknowledged the spike in cases it may have led to.

He said: “A fortnight ago, with case rates looking extremely promising for Warwickshire, it seemed inconsistent and misguided for us to be placed in Tier 3.

“And as a result, our hospitality sector suffered a devastating loss of revenue during its most crucial fortnight of the year.

“It is now essential that the government steps in to support hospitality – with many businesses in my constituency fearing for their future and feeling let down by the government.

“Being grouped with Coventry and Solihull – both areas, at the time, with higher case rates – at the request of Warwickshire County Council’s Conservative leadership surely condemned us to Tier 3.

“And other local councils and representatives were undemocratically excluded from discussions with the government.

“But with cases once again rising exponentially across the country, those circumstances have changed, and we have to react as new data emerges.”

After conversations with business owners in his constituency, he says many claimed it would have been too late to move into Tier 3 this week – with the costs of reopening outweighing revenues.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock decided Warwickshire should remain in Tier 3 with cases for all age groups rising exponentially in Warwick, Rugby and Stratford over the last week.

Mr Western urged for Warwickshire communities to exercise caution and show resolve to bring cases back down.