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PC Opposition Says Federal Government Not Doing Enough for Small and Medium Businesses Hit Hard by COVID-19
“It’s time for Ottawa to step up in a big way to help our local businesses bridge the gap so our economy can rebound once the restrictions have ended.”
Friday, April 24, 2020

Office of the Official Opposition
For Immediate Release

 
St. John’s, NL (April 24, 2020) – Tony Wakeham, Finance critic for the Official Opposition, said the federal government is not doing enough to provide relief for small and medium size businesses, such as restaurants, bars, and retail stores which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 disruptions the government has imposed to protect public health.

“Small and medium businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Wakeham. “We will need these businesses operating when we’re coming out of this crisis so our local economies can rebound, but some are afraid they will not survive unless Ottawa helps them bridge the gap.”

Today’s announcement by the Federal Government of a new commercial rent assistance program will provide some relief for small and medium size businesses who are struggling to pay rent, but it does not go far enough.

“Businesses have been hit hard by COVID-19. Those paying rent will have some relief but will still have to come up with 25% of the rent. This may be hard for those who have ceased operations and have no revenue and will do nothing to address those businesses who have mortgages with banks” said Wakeham.

We have also heard from many business owners that they are struggling to cover other fixed costs that have not gone away even though revenue has been reduced, and in some cases eliminated.

“Deferrals and loans don’t ensure survival and may crush businesses with a double burden a year or so from now. Many businesses that are closed now will never recover the revenue they have lost. Deferred taxes and loan repayments will hit them hard down the road, only adding to their cash problems and threatening their viability,” said Wakeham. “They need real relief.”

“It’s time for Ottawa to step up in a big way to help our local businesses bridge the gap so our economy can rebound once the restrictions have ended.”
 

Contacts:

Bradley Russell

Director of Policy and Research

(p) 1.709.729.3668

BradleyRussell@gov.nl.ca

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