Miriam Cates admits the scheme to help firms survive the lockdown ‘has its flaws’. But she says she can take up individual cases where problems are cropping up.
“If people are struggling, they should reach out for help,” said Miriam, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge.
“Business support is coming through and my message is to those who have applied and are having problems, get in touch with me. The scheme is improving but it is not without its flaws. I can take up individual cases as I know this help is often critical.”
Miriam says she has had a lot of contact from businesses, forming a high proportion of her casework. Firms are asking what support is out there.
“I can break it down for individuals as there is a lot of new information and I can direct people in the right direction,” she said.
“A small but significant number trying to access the business loan scheme have had problems and government has now issued new rules to banks regarding loan guarantees. Things have improved, so for those who maybe failed first time around, give it another go. If there are still problems, I am happy to try to help.
“The aim is keep businesses afloat and if that is not happening we need to take another look.
“I know many small concerns are unsure as to how their firms can carry on.”
Miriam praised Barnsley Council for its handling of the lockdown situation.
“I know the council has been quick to issue rate relief grants and that is fantastic,” she said. “The authority has also dealt with some cases of hardship due to anxiety about what the next few months will bring.
“Barnsley Council continue to do a brilliant job in redeploying staff and helping businesses with grants. The council has really taken hold of this. I am really impressed. So a big thank you to all concerned.”
The MP feels the lockdown measures are going well, adding: “Reality is kicking in and we can’t stop a negative impact of some kind. It is hard - the main thing is to keep people in work so we can recover when the time is right.”
She thinks the that, in some ways, the next phase of the lockdown will be easier.
“We are getting into the habit of a different life and have worked through the immediate changes,” she said. “But the more we miss face-to-face contact and loss of income there could be difficult relationships in the home.
“Some people are also going to have to start making decisions about their health. Some conditions will become urgent if not dealt with.”