Covid-19 Economic Support Package

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:59 pm on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Alison McGovern Alison McGovern Shadow Minister (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) 1:59 pm, 14th October 2020

I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this debate in what has been a horrendous week for all in Merseyside. I would like to pass my thanks, through the Chancellor before he leaves the Chamber, to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury for agreeing to meet Merseyside Members of Parliament on the 20th of this month. Just as the Chancellor walked out of the Chamber now, it has felt to us in Merseyside that it has just been too difficult to get the attention of the Treasury during what has been the most extraordinarily challenging week. I ask the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to flag up to all his colleagues inside the Treasury how very difficult this situation is for us. We have uniquely been placed in the top tier of restrictions, and that surely demands a unique level of attention and a unique set of interventions to ensure that our economy does not go under. I know that the Minister will take those comments very seriously.

I want to take the short time that I have to make a couple of comments about Merseyside, but before I do so I just want to thank all those businesses in my constituency that have been in touch with me. I have had sobering conversations with the management of the Thornton Hall Hotel, and with James, who runs the Rose And Crown pub in Bebington. They have made it absolutely clear to me what the consequences are of this situation. They have done everything that could possibly have been asked of them. This situation is not of their making, and I hope that it is a cross-party endeavour in this House to back our hospitality industry. That is particularly important for the Liverpool City region. We have spent 20 years working to ensure that our visitor economy replaced much of what was lost in de-industrialisation.

Now, Madam Deputy Speaker, if you had said to me when I was a child that, one day, people would come for a mini-break to Merseyside, I would have laughed. Most people in the country—well, they did not think that much of us. All that work could go down the drain if we are not careful, so I say to the Minister: “Don’t do it. Help us.” I urge him to make sure that this place of opportunity, with these young and growing businesses, has the chance of an economic future that says to anywhere in our nation: “It does not matter how far down or out you are, Britain offers you hope.” There is a way to do that. Although our businesses are young and they do not have huge cash reserves, they are incredibly creative and, crucially, fast growing. If the Treasury wants to see growth, I heartily recommend it backing the creative, cultural and visitor economies such as Merseyside.