Keighley and Ilkley MP, Robbie Moore, spent this weekend visiting high street shops around the Keighley and Ilkley area ahead of the planned reopening of all non-essential retail businesses by the Government this week.
Non-essential retail shops were forced to close in March following the implementation of lockdown restrictions by the Government in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak in Britain. Many shops were eligible for a grant worth either £10,000 or £25,000 depending on their rateable value, as well as being able to furlough their staff through the Government’s Job Retention Scheme which paid employees 80 per cent of their wage – one of the most generous schemes in Europe. Those businesses who were not eligible for a Coronavirus grant were able to apply to the council for a discretionary grant following the Government’s decision to award Bradford Council over £6 million pounds in discretionary funding.
Mr Moore spent the weekend meeting businesses across Keighley, Ilkley, Silsden and the Worth Valley, being joined briefly by Worth Valley Bradford District Councillors Chris Herd and Russell Brown. One of the businesses Robbie met with was Keighley family-run furniture store; Rooms, based on Hanover Street. Meeting with husband and wifeteam Andrew and Janine Foster and their son, Joe, Robbie discussed the challenges facing the high street due to Coronavirus and how they have adapted their shop to become Covid-19 friendly.
Robbie said: “The last few months have been challenging for all, especially those in the retail sector. The Government has given an unprecedented amount of funding to local high street shops so they can plug the gap between the money they have lost due to lockdown measures. However, we are under no illusion that things will not be easy in the coming weeks and months for the retail sector. I know that both the Keighley Business Improvement District (BID) and Ilkley BID have been working hard to promote a ‘back open for business’ PR campaign. It is important now that we all rally round to support our local independent shops through this difficult period to ensure the high street is kept alive.
“It was great to visit local businesses over the weekend to hear their concerns, to see how they have adapted to a post-lockdown world and to see how I can best help them to ensure they succeed in the coming years. Speaking at length with Andrew, Janine and Joe Foster at Rooms, I was encouraged to hear their positive attitude and that as local business owners they are open and ready for business. I was impressed to see the adaptations already made to Rooms to make it Coronavirus-friendly with hand sanitising stations and a one-way system in place. Rooms is a fantastic independent family run store, with a great range of beds, sofas, tables and a whole range of furniture - I would urge all to take a look.”
Non-essential businesses are able to open from 15 June 2020.