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Business leaders outline mandate for enterprise to survive coronavirus

Norfolk business leaders have outlined what they hope Boris Johnson's government will do to support them.     Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Norfolk business leaders have outlined what they hope Boris Johnson's government will do to support them. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

PA Wire/PA Images

The Norfolk business community has set out its demands to government outlining what the county needs to survive lockdown.

Martin Dupee, Chair of Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions. Picture: Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist AttractionsMartin Dupee, Chair of Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions. Picture: Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions

The mandate, which will be handed to MPs in the region, covers essential support our key sectors and the wider business community needs.

The requests were outlined during a webinar hosted by Eastern Daily Press and East Anglian Daily Times business editor Richard Porritt.

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He was joined by panellists Richard Glinn, growth hub manager at New Anglia Growth Hub, Glen Webster, area business manager for Barclays and Toby Wilson, recovery expert and partner at Lovewell Blake.

Richard Porritt, political editor. Staff byline picture. 
Picture: DENISE BRADLEYRichard Porritt, political editor. Staff byline picture. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Their requests were:

1. Comprehensive telecommunications coverage across the East of England

Toby Wilson of Lovewell Blake said: “One thing which cannot be ignored if we’re looking at what we need from government is telecommunication coverage across the region – irrespective of locality.”

For many years communities and businesses – including the Eastern Daily Press – have campaigned for better mobile and broadband coverage.

2. Directors of limited companies given income support

Currently directors of limited companies who are dependent on dividends – which are currently frozen by UK banks – have no form of income support from government.

This is because many are not eligible for the Job Retention Scheme or the SEISS scheme for self-employed individuals.

“There are potentially around 710,000 limited company directors who aren’t being supported under current schemes,” said Mr Porritt. “Of course the economy – and millions of individuals – have already been supported by the chancellor’s policies. But he promised no one would be left behind and it’s time to make good on that.”

3. Furlough scheme increased for tourism industry until next Easter

One of the sectors hardest hit by the lockdown – and will continue to be impacted moving forward – is tourism.

Martin Dupee, director of Norfolk & Suffolk Tourist Attractions as well as Visit East of England, said that: “The tourism industry will have gone through the equivalent of three winters by the time they can potentially reopen.

“We do ask government to consider furloughing during the months of November, December, January, February and March to enable our members to survive the winter, retain staff and minimize losses, ready for Easter 2021.”


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