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200803 | Concerns about struggling businesses and rising job losses in Cornwall

Concerns about struggling businesses and rising job losses in Cornwall

Concerns about struggling businesses and rising job losses in Cornwall

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:45am 3rd August 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

The President of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns about the impact coronavirus is having on businesses in Cornwall and rising job losses.

Toby Parkins was speaking at a meeting of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Leadership Board on Friday afternoon.

He started by highlighting the decision by the Government not to allow Cornwall Council to pass unspent cash to businesses which are eligible for discretionary grants.

The council has said that there are 3,500 businesses which, as yet, have had no financial support from the government.

It wanted to use money which had been provided for an earlier grants scheme to help the businesses which have not had help. But the Government has told the council it needs to send the money back to Whitehall.

“It was a great disappointment that the Government was unable to move the unallocated grant funds to the discretionary grant fund which is underfunded by around £30million.

“That means that 3,500 businesses have been left without hope. They were told earlier this month that nobody would be left without hope.

“I have had correspondence from businesses who are feeling quite sad that they have been left out and 3,500 businesses is quite a significant chunk of Cornish businesses.

“There are an awful lot of businesses that should have had help but have not had help. We are concerned about those businesses that have been left out.

“We are hearing on a daily basis businesses that are making redundancies. Hundreds and hundreds of redundancies that we have heard of and now we have the thousands which need help. This is very concerning.”

Toby Parkins, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce

However Mr Parkins said that while the general picture for businesses in Cornwall was negative some companies had actually seen business increase during the pandemic.

“It is important to have a balanced view on this – while we recognised that there are lots of business sectors making significant numbers of redundancies there are other sectors that are doing very well.

“There were some businesses that were doing better during lockdown. A signmaker I had do some work for me said that since lockdown allowed them to work they have been filled out, the busiest they have ever been .

“And I am hearing situations where people are losing their jobs with one company but other companies are taking people on.

“The net effect is overall the loss of jobs across the county is higher.”

Toby Parkins, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce

Mr Parkins, who is director of software development firm Headforwards, said that there was a need for more training and skills opportunities in place to help those who do find themselves made redundant in Cornwall.

“We need to look at skills and training. It presents a perfect storm in many ways. There are opportunities for people to look at new training and we need to ensure that we are co-ordinating the right funding and support to help people to the point where people who have been made redundant you can move them onto a training programme, give them the opportunity to upskills and then move onto a new job or career.

“By doing that we can make the best of a very challenging situation. An upskilling programme could turn a very negative situation into something slightly more positive.”

Toby Parkins, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce

The leadership board later approved plans to press ahead with a programme which will seek to improve training and skills programmes in Cornwall with bids to be made to the Government for more funding to help set those up.

 

 

 

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