Following the announcement of a national lockdown, West of England Mayor Tim Bowles is urging residents to follow the latest government guidance to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“It is vital that we all pull together to follow the government guidance to protect lives and livelihoods and take pressure off our NHS,” he said. “I know that we have been under restrictions as a region for some time and that we are facing huge economic and personal challenges but with this new variant of Covid 19 it is essential that we do all we can to stop the spread of the virus and keep our region safe while our vaccines are being rolled out.”
The Mayor also welcomed the news of an additional £4.6 billion in government funding for businesses affected by the pandemic.
“I know it is a really tough time for many businesses, but there is a huge amount of support available to protect jobs that the West of England Combined Authority can help businesses access. I would encourage businesses in our region to get in touch with our Growth Hub – we can help with everything from helping business move to trading online, to mental health advice for employees, as well as retraining. We can also help you find the right place to go for other grants and support including the very welcome economic package announced today by the Chancellor.
“The West England Combined Authority Committee has committed £9.4m additional funding for regional recovery – this is in addition to the £100m investment already committed to businesses and skills over the next four years. This includes business support, skills and employment initiatives.
“Our Regional Recovery Plan, which we have developed with businesses and our communities, builds on work that is already underway so that we can all have the confidence to emerge strongly from the pandemic and build back better.”
This is in addition to work that the Combined Authority has led during the pandemic including investment in cycling and walking initiatives, including the Joy in the Journey campaign to support residents to walk or cycle, expanding skills programmes such as Future Bright to help residents find employment and support for businesses to adapt and recover.
For more information on support for those affected by the coronavirus situation, including information and advice for businesses from the West of England Growth Hub, please visit: www.wearegrowth.co.uk