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Retail Sector: Covid-19

Volume 683: debated on Tuesday 10 November 2020

What recent discussions he has had with representatives from the retail sector on the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on that sector. (908536)

I have regular discussions on the effect of covid-19 with a range of retail reps. Next month, I will co-chair a meeting of the Retail Sector Council. There has been unprecedented support, including within the £200 billion of Government support for the retail sector, but clearly we must work closely with it at all times.

Retail sector employment is a huge part of employment in my constituency of Blaydon, from huge centres like the Metrocentre to independent retailers across the whole constituency. With all but essential shops now closed for a second time, what further practical support are the Government giving to those businesses struggling to pay their rent, and their other bills, as a result of the covid crisis?

We have extended the moratorium until the end of the year and will continue to work with tenants. This week, I had a roundtable with a ministerial colleague in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. We will work with tenants and landlords to come up with a fair solution for retailers across this country to protect our high streets and our retail areas.