Two reports from Arran’s MP Patricia Gibson

Arran’s MP Patricia Gibson has sent two reports, one concerning the job retention scheme and the other urging the Chancellor to act quickly in the current crisis to help save small businesses.

Jobs retention scheme must include support for seasonal workers

Arran’s MP Patricia Gibson has urged the Chancellor to amend the Jobs Retention Scheme (JRS) to ensure anyone who started or was due to start a job in March receives support, including seasonal workers.

Currently, an employer cannot access support for an employee taken on after 28th February. This excludes most seasonal workers in tourism and hospitality, who usually start in March for the spring and summer seasons.

SNP MPs have written to Rishi Sunak urging him to immediately update the JRS to ensure workers employed from 28th February qualify for support.

Patricia commented:

“I welcome the JRS and other measures the UK Government has brought in at this difficult time across the reserved areas for which they are responsible. However, there are still people on Arran and across the country impacted financially by the crisis who are not receiving support.

“The JRS fails to recognise geographical and sectoral differences and risks leaving many island workers ineligible for help.

“An otherwise good scheme to reduce unemployment will see many facing unnecessary hardship.

“Seasonal workers in hospitality and tourism in particular, now face the prospect of being left with Universal Credit as their only means of support.

“I urge the Chancellor to ensure people with an employment history of being seasonal workers and those on Arran and throughout the country who were due to begin work in March are considered to be employees for the purposes of the Job Retention Scheme.”

The Chancellor Must Act Now to Help Save Local Businesses!

Local MP, Patricia Gibson has urgently contacted the Chancellor of the Exchequer (see below for link) to express concerns about the administration of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) after Chambers of Commerce figures show only 2% of firms applying had so far obtained loans.

Mrs Gibson said:
“The priority following this health crisis is to have businesses up and running quickly so our economy can speedily recover.

“With reports of banks planning exorbitant interest rates on government-backed loans of 35% following the initial 12-month period of the CBILS, there is genuine alarm.

“The Chancellor must heed calls from the Federation of Small Businesses that emergency loans should have interest rates capped at 6%. It is unacceptable for banks to profiteer from loans which are survival mechanisms, not standard commercial transactions.

“The British Business Bank in charge of the CBILS has approved four new lenders for accreditation but this does not go far enough. Challenger banks, alternative finance providers and other non-bank lenders must be included so that thousands of small businesses with no relationship with traditional banks are not excluded.

“Finally, the Chancellor must consider measures where government loans for small businesses will be fully written off by the Government, if the money is used to rehire staff or pay rent, as in the USA. This would improve the survival prospects of businesses which will need time and space to recover.

“Unless the process of getting cash to businesses is expedited, the economy will be at serious risk, with estimates projecting four million people unemployed within weeks.

“The Chancellor must act now to help save local businesses!”

See here (PDF) for Mrs Gibson’s letter to the Chancellor.