Cllr Rachael Robathan, leader of Westminster City Council, said:
“With a fresh period of national lockdown our vulnerable and shielding residents will be the council’s priority. Together with our frontline staff working around the clock, we are lucky to have more than 3,000 local people who have volunteered to help the community as part of the Westminster Connects scheme, and who will once again be carrying bags, fetching shopping and doing pharmacy runs for those who can’t leave the house. We are working flat out to support the vaccination programme with test centres and vaccination sites. I know parents are weary at the thought of another stint of online home schooling, but we will again be supporting families in need with laptops and technology.
“Now, more than ever. we need the right Government support in place to help businesses recover when lockdown lifts. Westminster is a big employer with one in ten jobs created by the West End. Our 39,000 businesses include more restaurants, cafes and bars than any other council, so today’s announcement of £4.6bn from the Chancellor is a welcome step, particularly for the hospitality industry in Westminster which employ tens of thousands of people.
“However we now need urgent clarification now that the business rates holiday will be extended beyond the end of March and that the right formula for grant help is there for businesses to survive the long haul. The economy of Westminster and the West End matters to the UK and if we don’t get the right measures in place now, the damage to this international shop window for Britain will be significant.”