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In the wake of increased health restrictions Liberals call for ramped up business supports

Interim Liberal leader Shirley Bond.

With new public health orders in effect, the BC Liberals are calling on the NDP government to immediately ramp up supports for small businesses.

“Yesterday, John Horgan said if new support was needed they’d get on it — so where is it?,” said Shirley Bond, Interim Opposition Leader, in a news release. “People needed that support one minute after midnight when the new restrictions came in, but there was no plan for it. How could they not have supports in place, knowing they were about to put so many British Columbians out of work for at least three weeks? The lack of care for people’s livelihoods, especially for those aged 20 to 39 in the service industry who are being blamed for the third wave by John Horgan, is unacceptable.”

Todd Stone, BC Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation criticized the recovery grant program for small business, which, he claimed, has left many restaurants and other hospitality businesses hanging by a thread, not sure that they will be able to make it to the other side of the pandemic. As a result, the Official Opposition is once again urging action that will get financial support to those small businesses that need it the most including:

  • Immediately adjust the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program by speeding up the application and approvals process to reduce the massive backlog that exists; and easing the eligibility criteria, including the requirement for a business to have been operating for at least 18 months as of the date of application; the requirement for a business to have had positive cash flow for the last financial statement prior to February 2020; and the requirement that business ownership has not prepared the business for sale following February 1, 2020.
  • Provide immediate financial support to restaurants hit with sudden costs due to lost perishable inventory as a result of the latest health orders
  • Expand support for small businesses through tax deferrals and relief, such as deferring the Employer Health Tax, Provincial Sales Tax and Carbon tax; and stopping all tax increases and planned new taxes for 2021.
  • Ensure that advance notice of additional health measures are provided to businesses in the future.

“John Horgan’s mixed messages have caused confusion, and small business owners and their employees are going to pay the price,” said Stone. “It’s clear Horgan and the NDP have no plan and no ideas to get people the help they deserve, so I’m happy to send them our ideas. It’s not about taking credit — it’s about making sure these small businesses don’t lose everything after weeks of mixed messaging from a Premier and his ensuing lack of supports for small businesses.”

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