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Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged to support businesses in Barking and Dagenham

Rishi Sunak has been asked to encourage local authorities to make discretionary grants a higher priority

The Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce is calling for more financial support for small and medium sized businesses.

Chambers across London have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, warning that companies are struggling to pay rent, utilities and other bills, after being forced to close due to Covid-19.

Although financial support has been made available during the pandemic, they say smaller businesses are being treated unfairly and having difficulty accessing government funds.

They want Mr Sunak to pressure local authorities to make discretionary grant applications for smaller businesses a higher priority.

Jamie Banks, President of Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Government has put together a package for business which has certainly provided useful support for many, but there are clear gaps which need to be filled if we are not to see a swathe of British industry and commerce either collapse completely or be in too weak a state to be able to help the recovery…”

The government is offering companies  ‘business rates relief’ to help reduce the financial impact of lockdown.

However, in their letter to the Chancellor, the Chambers say some small and medium businesses pay rates as part of their rent and are not benefiting from this support.

The letter also highlights the difficulties faced by self-employed people and calls for an alternative to Universal Credit for those who cannot access the government’s Self Employment Business Support Scheme.

If you would like to find out more about the Barking and Dagenham Chamber of Commerce, you can do so here

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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