Bath MP Wera Hobhouse has warned that “many of our well-loved businesses might not survive” due to the coronavirus pandemic, during her latest online public meeting.
The meeting, which covered the theme of “Innovation Bath: The Future of Business”, took place on Wednesday 29th July.
Ms Hobhouse and her guest speakers, local leaders representing business, the creative and technology sectors, the city’s universities and Bath College, discussed collective efforts underway to build a strong future for Bath’s economy in the face of COVID-19.
Support for local businesses was the first topic on the agenda.
Wera said: “Apart from the unprecedented health crisis, we are facing an unprecedented economic crisis. I have been campaigning tirelessly in the last weeks and months to support Bath businesses and employees and the self-employed.
“In response, the Government has adapted the support schemes already in place, extended the furlough scheme, and brought in new financial support packages, for example, for the arts and culture sector.
“But our hospitality, leisure and retail industries are still facing hugely challenging times and without further support, many of our well-loved businesses might not survive.
“The fight to ensure that these important sectors survive is ongoing. Bath’s unique small shops are one of the most treasured elements of our beautiful city.
“Many of them have been community mainstays during the pandemic, going above and beyond to serve our residents in creative and thoughtful ways. They need our support.”
Greg Ingham, Chief Executive of Bath Life publisher MediaClash and co-founder of Creative Bath, was one of the panellists at the event.
He shared his advice on how everyone in our city can support local businesses: “This Great Pause has been a time for us to review our values, reconfirm our sense of purpose and redefine what success looks like.
“Lockdown has made us all local, and much more aware of the benefits of supporting our indies. My recipes for success are simple: Let’s buy local. Let’s be advocates for Bath by encouraging our family and friends to visit our beautiful heritage city.
“We have so many good things to praise; let’s raise our voices to do so. Let’s be active in our city in every way, be it culturally or by stepping up civically.
“Finally, let’s support our local charities who need our help now more than ever, such as via BoulesAid.”