First published in Tees Business on 05_06_2020
Jessie Joe Jacobs calls for measures to help small businesses restart the economy
Jessie Joe Jacobs is calling on the Tees Valley Mayor to show leadership and develop innovative plans to help businesses recover and protect jobs. The unprecedented lockdown has put many businesses under intense financial strain which many will find it difficult to recover from. Helping businesses come back from this will be a challenge unlike any other and while businesses are showing their innovative side that needs to be matched by the Mayor too.
Jessie has set out a number of areas where the Mayor could help local businesses reopen and maintain profitability. Firstly, to assist with small grants to help cafes, pubs and restaurants to adapt to the new rules for example in purchasing new outdoor chairs and tables. Secondly, refocusing tourism promotion work on domestic tourists and even Teessiders themselves, helping people to discover some of the quieter hidden corners of the area. Thirdly, a fund to help local food and drink producers reach customers, either through outdoor markets or digital sales platforms. To work with national and local government leaders to temporarily ease up on restrictive planning laws to reduce red tape and allow for innovation and flexibility in the use of outside space for socialising and entertainment
Jessie Joe Jacobs said, “If we are to recover from this crisis we need to be bold and ambitious with our plans. We’re seeing innovative plans from other places for pop-up pedestrianisation to allow for pubs and cafes to spread outdoors as well as outdoor markets. Lots of people across Teesside work in hospitality and we need to support those jobs. The big one size fits all business grants of yesterday won’t help kick-start the economy in the way we need.
“We have got to be flexible in how we respond to this and things are changing very quickly but the Mayor has to show leadership. We need our economy to grow faster than anywhere else in order to close the gap between us and other areas that existed before this crisis. We’ve got to work doubly hard and that needs leadership from the Mayor and to use the resources he has to help us recover.”