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Record borrowing must not stop support for the small businesses which are vital for two thirds of jobs in the North East

March 20, 2021 4:56 PM

Cllr Robin Ashby at ParliamentNew economic data from the Office for National Statistics show the Government borrowed £303.1bn in the year to March, the highest level since the end of World War Two.

The figures show that, compared to the previous 12 months, borrowing is nearly £250bn higher in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"These record borrowing figures throw into stark relief the scale of the challenge posed by Covid-19, but they can not be used as an excuse by the Government to end support prematurely, and leave behind people and businesses struggling across the UK, " Cllr Robin Ashby, who speaks for Newcastle Liberal Democrats on business issues said.

"Thousands of small businesses in the region are due to stay closed for months to come, and millions of people across the country are still worried about their jobs. Our region is particulary dependant on small and medium enterprises to provide two thirds of all jobs, yet the Chancellor failed to provide them with long-term certainty and direct support in the budget.

"The Government can't keep its head in the sand about the difficulties people face. We must see an ambitious revenue compensation package for struggling small businesses, and an extension of the furlough scheme until the end of the year, to give workers and their SME employers certainty about the future."