I am strongly concerned about the long-term impact of the Coronavirus pandemic upon small businesses in East Newcastle. Recent analysis showed that nationally, as many as 850,000 were at risk of closure, which could lead to a loss of approximately 2.4 million jobs. I understand that support has been too slow to reach those who need it, or it simply hasn’t been obtainable.

We cannot allow this to happen, given the impact it will have on communities and on people’s livelihoods. Therefore, Labour is calling for the creation of a new British business recovery agency to manage loans, so that firms can secure their futures. In addition to this, we are calling on the Government to convert the bounce-back loan scheme into a student loan-style arrangement, with firms only starting to make repayments once they are making money again.

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