Covid-19 Economic Support Package

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:23 pm on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Kevin Hollinrake Kevin Hollinrake Conservative, Thirsk and Malton 2:23 pm, 14th October 2020

I agree with that, but it is not either/or. Of course we need to improve test and trace, but that should not mean we have to lock down the entire economy. That is absolutely the wrong thing.

I have three solutions. The number one thing is that we look at this on a super-local basis. We know that the rate of infection in Liverpool is 670 per 100,000. It is 60 in parts of North Yorkshire, but it varies significantly across North Yorkshire. We need to look at a district-based approach that would increase the amount of ownership and responsibility local people have for managing the crisis through peer pressure and from understanding that their actions would be effective.

I fully support having different tiers. I supported them on Monday and I support them today. Having said that, the two higher tiers do lead to a difficult situation. Bars and restaurants in tier 2, and restaurants in tier 3, are not required to close. That means they cannot access furlough support. There are two things we could do: extend the furlough support, which is a hit on the taxpayer; or, instead of coming down from six households per table, as it was last week, to one household, we could go to two households. That concession would have a very important effect for lots of pubs and restaurants, which would then be viable.

The third solution is business support. We need a new iteration of the bounce back loan scheme and the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, which has been so successful. As my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury knows, we also need to make non-bank lenders part of that new tranche of business support. We need forbearance for SMEs. We should phase support back in, so we move VAT from 5% to 10%, and not back to 20%. We should also phase back in business rates and perhaps stamp duty.