County Councillor Julie Gibson, the Labour Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Development, has welcomed the European money for businesses announced at the recent Cabinet Meeting but has called on the Cabinet to develop a sustainable financial strategy with banks and financial institutions.
Cllr Gibson said: “LCC is seeking £1,544,072 of European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) resources to deliver COVID 19 Recovery Grants. The Grants will form part of a national programme to support Small and Medium size enterprises to adapt to news trading conditions in order to aid recovery from the impact of COVID 19, and will be administered by the Lancashire Business Growth Hub BOOST. Lancashire businesses are currently facing unprecedented change due to the economic crisis caused by COVID. This funding will help many businesses to reposition themselves in the labour market.
She continued: “However, many small and medium size businesses are anxious about talking to their banks regarding financial pressures as it is generally believed the first thing many banks will do is cut off their credit facility preventing them from acquiring stock or adapting to the new health and safety requirement to deliver their services or manufacture their products. That is why we proposed at the meeting that Council calls in the banks and finance companies to discuss their role in Lancashire Economic Recovery. I am pleased the Cabinet Member agreed to our suggestion.”
Cllr Gibson said: “Lancashire County Council can only do so much directly with the European funding but we can do a lot more by working with the financial institutions to develop a Lancashire Good Finance Agreement in order to reassure businesses. If we are going to “Build Back Better” we must build a better financial service for small and medium businesses to gain a long term sustainable economy in Lancashire.”