Council continues to highlight plight of businesses which cannot open

Published Friday 28 August 2020 at 17:06

Blackburn with Darwen Council is lobbying government to allow businesses in the protection zone to reopen.

The Council is also urging for more financial support for businesses which have suffered during the lockdown.

The government is set to look at the Council’s proposals but has said it wants to consider the matter further.

Thanks to the Council’s efforts, Blackburn with Darwen has not been forced into a full economic lockdown.

Instead, the Council argued that a more targeted approach was needed.

Last week, an area covering nine parts of the borough, including Darwen, was allowed to follow national restrictions and businesses like gyms were allowed to reopen.

However, the Council believes businesses in the areas with continuing social restrictions should also be allowed to open.

The Council is undertaking a number of business focused engagement events. For example, Councillor Damian Talbot chaired a forum with leisure businesses to listen to their concerns recently and Martin Kelly, director of growth and development, hosted a business forum with Councillor Phil Riley.

Councillor Mohammed Khan, Leader of the Council, said:

Businesses have suffered terribly over the last few months. Of course, keeping the public safe is paramount but all the data shows that people are much more likely to get the virus from family and close friends in their homes than from a stranger down the shop.

It’s simply common sense to allow these businesses to reopen as it causes lots of anomalies such as a resident not being able to go to a gym on their street but can go to Darwen. The Council is very clear we will work with businesses to make them Covid-secure.

The government has indicated it is willing to listen to our case so hopefully it will be positive news but sadly there will be no changes this week.

We also continue to lobby government for financial support for all our businesses who have suffered since we became an area of intervention.

People in this borough have made huge sacrifices and continue to do so. This Council will continue to support them.”

Councillor Phil Riley, deputy leader and executive member for growth and development, said:

We want to support our businesses as much as we can but it’s clear we need more funding and support from government.

I want to stress that the borough is open for business for investors, visitors and shoppers alike. Of course, we have our public health responsibilities but by working with businesses our towns are safe and Covid-secure so people can spend their money here.

We will use of powers of enforcement when necessary to protect the public but only as the very last resort. Our default position is to support businesses through this really difficult time and taking a common sense approach to using our powers.


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