Business leaders in the Northwest face months of uncertainty as Chancellor’s latest business support package ‘pretty useless’ for the hospitality and leisure sector.

Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £1billion fund set out to help businesses hit by the rise in COVID cases. This includes £6,000 per premises for hospitality businesses, £30million to help theatres and museums, and supporting some firms with the cost of sick pay for COVID-related absences.

Whilst support is welcomed, many worry this package is merely scratching the surface. At what is supposed to be the busiest time of the year, businesses face an onslaught of cancellations and a rapid decline in takings which usually see them through January and February. Now the worry of whether they will make it through to March next year has become an hourly, rather than daily, worry.

As people are urged to stay at home, businesses across the Northwest are bearing the brunt of the lack of guidance on restrictions without adequate support to help them survive through the festive period.


I’m hugely disappointed by the inadequate package of support for businesses who are being negatively impacted and loosing trade at an alarming rate. We need to see the return of furlough support, and a proper grant support package before more jobs are lost and livelihoods destroyed.

Professor Maggie O’Carroll, Chief Executive Officer, The Women’s Organisation


First to close, last to open and now months of uncertainty again!


I’ve had staff crying concerned about their jobs wondering how they will pay their rent in January. It’s hard enough to worry about if you can open your doors and trade, without the added stress and worry about everyone that works for you. Yesterday we moved a wedding from the 30th December to the 27th December in the hopes that they can still have their special day with us. It’s not a daily worry it’s an hourly worry – I feel numb now! The Government really don’t know how their lack of decisions are killing our businesses. £6k is a disgraceful offer of support – it might be nice PR for them but it’s pretty useless for the hospitality sector.

Gemma McGowan MD of Isle of Gladstone Hospitality Business


We have already experienced a significant drop off in business in the run up to Christmas and this is one of our key trading times in the year. The news from the government is very worrying as we don’t have a pot of gold to help us continue to trade through these uncertain times. Without furlough and a proper package of grant support, businesses like ours will face an uphill battle to stay afloat through this. We need furlough support and clear guidance on restrictions if we are to ensure businesses can survive.


Joanne McCormick, Director, Ava & Harrison children’s hair salon

Although all support is welcomed, up to £6k is not going to cover heating and lighting costs for many venues, let alone staff wages etc. At a time when we should be booming, we are hit by ongoing cancellations as the government urges people to stay at home. December revenue historically gets us through January and February, but with no guidance on restrictions and little support, we are facing uncertain times ahead. We need clarity on the next steps, further support, and for VAT to remain at the lower rate.


Elaine Clarke  CEO – Baa Bar LTD