Business Support

Supporting Local Businesses

The Coronavirus outbreak has had a serious and significant impact on our local businesses and high streets. Many businesses have been forced to close and others are operating significantly at a significantly reduced capacity. On this page you can find information about how you can support local businesses and what I’ll be doing to help businesses in Hitchin & Harpenden during and after this crisis.

How you can help local businesses

The best way for individuals to help local businesses is to continue to use them! Many local businesses are offering take-away or delivery options at the moment, and once this crisis is over, our high street businesses will need your support more than ever.

Useful Links

Local Businesses in Harpenden with details of their operations during Coronavirus:

www.mumsguideto.co.uk/harpenden/local-businesses.php

A full directory of local businesses in Hitchin:

www.hitchinherts.com/businesses.php?id=49

A directory of businesses in Harpenden, Redbourn and Wheathampstead:

www.harpendendirectory.co.uk

How I’m supporting local businesses

Business Interruption Loans

I have been part of a group of MPs working to improve access to CBILs for businesses. This is getting better, but there is much more to do. I have also been working directly with local businesses and banks to ensure that businesses get access to these much needed loans as quickly and easily as possible. If you have had trouble getting a Business Interruption Loan from your bank, let me know by emailing bim.afolami.mp@parliament.uk and I will look into your specific case.

The Self-Employed

In March, I urged the Treasury to take a broad approach in its financial support for self-employed people in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Chancellor has since announced a new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme – helping many of the musicians, sound engineers, plumbers, electricians, taxi drivers, hairdressers, childminders, driving instructors and many other self-employed people in our constituency and across the country.

Commercial Renters

The vast majority of our high street businesses are commercial renters. I’ve been working with businesses and landlords to ensure that they can come to agreements on rental deferrals or adjustments to ensure that these businesses can survive this difficult period.

Supporting Tech Start-Ups

Over the past weeks I have been working with the Chancellor’s team and leading industry figures to develop a package to help the plight of Britain’s great tech startups, a group who were unable to access the help and support being offered through this unprecedented crisis.

It is great news that the Chancellor has unveiled a new world leading £1.25 billion comprehensive package which includes a £500 million Future Fund to support these startups. This will be vital to the economy both locally and nationally in the coming months and years.

See more information here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund.

Individual Support

I’ve received a huge number of emails from local businesses who need support specific to them or their sector. If you run a business and would like my support at this time, please get in touch with me on bim.afolami.mp@parliament.uk.

How the Government is supporting local businesses

The Government has made a huge amount of support available for local businesses. You can find specific details on the Government’s Business Support website here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support.

If you need further guidance or support, please do get in touch with my office.