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Greater Support Needed From Local Government For Canterbury Businesses

Increased support from local Government is needed during the current climate, says Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson.

Ms Watson says the current operating environment calls for a step-change from the status quo.

"While there may be temptation to try to ride this out as business as usual, the reality is that it’s not - and won’t be for some time, if ever. While Canterbury businesses are incredibly resilient after facing adversity before, they are also facing a very unsettling time, with a very uncertain future. We would like to see our local council acknowledge this and lead the way in reducing barriers - including financial burdens such as rates relief - to enable businesses to survive, revive and thrive in the new normal."

Ms Watson says there is a need for Council to re-examine their current Annual Plan.

"It is positive that the Council has announced an extension for the consultation period, but what we really need is for a complete review of that plan from the ground up. There is an opportunity here for local government to show strong leadership as an enabler of business when we need it most.

"Given the disproportionate level of rates that businesses pay and the very real issues many businesses are facing in lockdown, many with absolutely no ability to bring any income during the lockdown, we have asked the Council to consider a rates postponement for business with the opportunity to pay back over a extended period of time.

"We have heard from many businesses who are desperately trying to retain and pay staff, without any revenue coming in due to not being able to operate, so these businesses need to be thrown a lifeline.

"As an Employers’ Chamber, we remain committed to working in collaboration with local government and being a conduit for two-way engagement with the local business community, so will continue to work closely with the Council to support local business and the livelihoods of our local community."

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