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MAYOR'S BLOG: Open for Business – but not Business as Usual

21 March 2020

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Sign up for business updates from the Combined Authority here.

The ‘Combined Authority’ is just that. It brings people together and joins the region up to create stronger, unified action. And right now, every part of our community needs to join forces to push back against the virus that threatens our communities, our very lives.

And our livelihoods.

We’re all in this together and today the corner shops, pubs, restaurants, family farms, all the small and medium sized enterprises that we rely on now need our help. It’s crucial that the businesses which provide our jobs and put food on our tables get whatever they need to carry us through this emergency.

Whatever it takes. I was pleased to see how the new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, in the early stages of the outbreak made significant changes to his own Budget before the ink was even dry. As the situation has developed, he has responded again to the national need, by announcing supercharged new support for business, including stepping in to help pay people’s wages and increasing the interest free period Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from 6 months to 12 months. And support is where the Combined Authority comes in.

We’re working flat out with Government departments to master the detail on how our firms can get their slice of that emergency funding. We’ve already contacted the Chancellor with our bid and he’s now considering the proposals.

Knowledge is power and we’ve also set up a communications channel to keep our local businesses up to speed in this fast-evolving environment – and we’ll share all key info with them as soon as we get it ourselves. You can sign up for updates here, and follow the CPCA (@CambsPboroCA) on Twitter.

It’s such a worrying time for employers and their employees with start-ups and small businesses most in need of help. I’m 100% focussed on doing whatever is necessary to ensure that those who need assistance are at the front of the queue for the Government’s promised funds.

We’re already in touch with 6000 local companies through our quickfire comms channel, sharing the government and public health flashes essential to business resilience. Our weekly briefing signposts the latest changes in the business world – shifts around VAT, say, or tax, business rates, sickness pay, health and safety, lockdowns, the law etc.

I want to hear from local bosses what on-the-ground support they need; and to voice their wishlist of ‘asks’ for Westminster which I, as Mayor, can then use to lobby ministers on their behalf.

So I’m urging Cambridgeshire & Peterborough businesses as to respond to our call for information; to tell us how the virus is affecting their supply chain, their ability to offer goods and services, and its impact on the wellbeing and productivity of their employees.  I’ll pass this frontline intelligence to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to assist them in the allocation of funds to our region. That authentic voice of local enterprise will ensure that support gets where its most needed.

These are difficult days for everyone, but we’re open for business here at the Combined Authority. In line with Government advice, our CPCA team is working from home and I’m really proud that my colleagues haven’t missed a beat in stepping up.  We’re doing everything possible to keep people safe and healthy, but we won’t slacken in driving forward the infrastructure projects across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that we will need for better times when they come again. And they will.

Please contact us to say what services, advice, information and support you need from us, and from the Government, to help you strengthen your business and get through to the other side.

If you’re a business in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, please sign up for business resilience updates here.

Please let us know how Covid-19 is impacting on your business here.

The latest public health information on Covid-19 can be found here.