Statement: Protecting businesses and jobs from impact of coronavirus

Published: Tuesday, 17th March 2020

Statement: protecting businesses and jobs in Oxford from the impact of coronavirus.

“The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) is already being felt by businesses and their employees, with staff being laid off and those on zero-hour contracts being told not to come in. Without urgent intervention from central government, in a matter of weeks large numbers of people across the country will be facing problems with being able to afford to pay their mortgage or rent.

“The Government’s announcements to support businesses in last week’s Budget, particularly the 100% rate discount for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, were helpful – but further measures are now needed. The French government has, for example, pledged €300bn to support its economy, and said that no business will go bankrupt as a result of coronavirus.

“The City Council will continue to do all it can to help businesses in Oxford. We have a team of colleagues who are quickly facilitating Government grants and rate relief, and we are surveying businesses in the city to get a clearer understanding of their immediate needs and identify ways we can help.

“We stand ready to get behind the Government and help in any way we can. There is only so much a council can do – we simply do not have the financial resources of national government, and we are keen to see further measures and funding announced today.

“We need our government to adopt a similar scale of ambition as France to protect our citizens. The objective must be to protect businesses and jobs in Oxford and across the country.”

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council