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Covid-19 Lockdown: Business Support

Volume 683: debated on Tuesday 10 November 2020

What recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on providing additional support to businesses affected by covid-19 lockdown restrictions in the run up to Christmas. (908533)

The Secretary of State works closely with the Chancellor, and I and my officials have had regular engagement with the Treasury. I recently met the Financial Secretary to the Treasury to discuss ongoing financial support.

We have announced additional cash grants and extensions to the job retention scheme and existing loan schemes.

Pubs and high street shops are particularly hard hit by losing pre-Christmas takings. The Minister will know that it is also the hospitality and retail sectors that are most at risk from accelerating automation, which will affect jobs. What will he do to work with those sectors on sector-specific plans to prevent the double whammy of covid and automation affecting jobs, so that our pubs and high street shops can be open?

The right hon. Lady raises a really important point. As well as having regular meetings with the hospitality and retail sectors about the immediate future, we also have the Retail Sector Council and the Hospitality Futures Group, an industry-led a group, which we participate in fully to make sure that we can address such long-term concerns.