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.