Published Friday, 23rd July 2021
Councillor Jayne McCoy's column for Sutton Scene, Friday 23 July 2021.
As the restrictions have lifted and the weather has improved, it has been great to see residents out supporting local businesses in Sutton. The last 18 months have been particularly tough for small businesses in the borough and so it is important that we recognise their place at the heart of Sutton’s local economy.
The pandemic has caused uncertainty in all areas of business. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular are the backbone of the economy, comprising over 99% of all businesses in Sutton. As a Council, we have been working with local businesses to ensure they have the right tools and guidance to remain open in a way that is safe for everyone.
Some staff and customers may be wary of returning to a busy working environment, and many trades will struggle to get back on top of the losses they have incurred as a result of lockdown. While the furlough scheme offered some level of safety for Sutton’s businesses, this support will soon be phased out. So, it is important that we as residents continue to support these businesses where we can.
The next few months will bring new and renewed challenges for small businesses, and so the Council and its partners have been working hard to implement supportive measures to help with reopening. Recent months have seen the Council offer grant funding, and I was pleased to hear that over 400 of Sutton’s businesses have been supported through the Additional Restrictions Grant fund. The Reopening Grant is currently open for applications and I would encourage businesses to apply for this where they qualify.
Recently Sutton was rated the area with the sixth strongest economy in the UK, which is a welcome vote of confidence in our future. I am keen to continue working with businesses and residents to ensure that the local economy remains strong and our businesses thrive as restrictions are lifted.
Cllr Jayne McCoy