Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:28 pm on 9th September 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Peter Gibson Peter Gibson Conservative, Darlington 2:28 pm, 9th September 2020

I am pleased to speak in this debate and place on record my thanks to the Government for the incredible support that they have provided to my constituents in Darlington. The unprecedented challenges that my constituents face have been met with measures ensuring that they had the security of income for their families and that their businesses were able to survive. The coronavirus job retention scheme ensured that 12,300 of my constituents were supported. This represents almost a third of the entire workforce in Darlington. This scheme alone made funds of up to £184 million available to the furloughed employees of Darlington. The self-employed income scheme was accessed by 2,500 self-employed people, enabling them to access up to £2,500 per month. That support was worth more than £6 million per month.

Businesses across Darlington have benefited from a variety of business grants, business rates holidays and tax deferral schemes. Business rates relief in Darlington totalled over £12 million, and the Government have distributed 1,581 grants to small and medium-sized enterprises in Darlington with a value of almost £16 million. I would like to pay tribute to the efforts of my colleagues at Darlington Borough Council, who made sure that their distribution of the grants was one of the swiftest in the country. I also pay tribute to the work of Ben Houchen, the Tees Valley Mayor, for the local support that he has given to businesses in Darlington. The phenomenal eat out to help out scheme, enabling the hospitality sector to bounce back, was enjoyed by 62 establishments in Darlington, which have served more than 50,000 meals, and I want to pay tribute to the Tomahawk Steakhouse for its fantastic steaks. Darlington businesses have applied and been accepted for over £33 million-worth of bounce back loans.

Furlough, grants, tax extensions, bounce back loans and rates holidays—these measures have been truly extra ordinary, but this emergency safety net needs to come to an end. It cannot be extended indefinitely. I know, and the hard-working people of Darlington know, that we need to get back to standing on our own two feet. We have protected the NHS, we have supported our employees and we have cradled our businesses, but we need to move forward, creating jobs and levelling up on investment in places such as Darlington to truly unlock the potential that I know the north-east has.