NEW Government support measures for businesses in Tier 2 areas like Winsford have divided opinion among mid Cheshire's MPs.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an updated financial support package for Tier 2 areas, including Cheshire West, on Thursday. 

The cash boost has been welcomed by Edward Timpson, Conservative MP for Eddisbury, who believes the Government has shown flexibility in responding to the coronavirus crisis.

The Winsford MP said: “I fully support the Government’s priority of protecting jobs across the country, and particularly in Eddisbury.

“The way they do that needs to evolve as the pandemic, and our health response, evolves.

“The Winter Economy Plan and this generous Job Support Scheme is the next step in protecting businesses, jobs and the livelihoods of the British people.” 

The measures include new grants available for businesses affected by the restrictions – such as hotels, bars and restaurants, where more than one household can no longer meet indoors – worth 70 per cent of the grants available to closed businesses in Tier 3.

But Mike Amesbury, Labour MP for Weaver Vale, fears the measures were announced too late for some businesses.

He said: "It's been almost two weeks now since Cheshire West was placed into Tier 2, which was two weeks of uncertainty faced by businesses, employers and staff in my constituency.

“Businesses will undoubtedly have made layoffs or even gone to the wall during this time.”

Mr Sunak also confirmed a reduction in minimum hours and employer contribution to be eligible for the new Job Support Scheme in November, as well as an increase in funding available for self-employed people.

However, Mr Amesbury believes workers and businesses in Northwich will still need more support to get them through a challenging period.

He added: "This package still doesn't go far enough and the fact remains many workers will get less than the 80 per cent of their pre-crisis wages, while firms that will get more support won't get it until the start of December – which will come too late for many.

"There is still no support for many of the groups who've slipped through the net since the start of this pandemic either.

"The Chancellor must look at this again, deliver real support to those who need it and give people the financial security they so desperately need."

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