More reassurance needed over support for Harrogate businesses

By Conor McKenzie, May 05, 2020 9:05

Liberal Democrats call for reassurance over support for the Harrogate Convention Centre and local businesses

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The Harrogate & Knaresborough Liberal Democrats have called on the leaders of Harrogate Borough Council and Andrew Jones MP to give more reassurance as to what is being done to protect the local economy during and after the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

We should be proud of what our local community has achieved in coming together to help the most vulnerable and isolated.

The Harrogate Convention Centre, the bedrock of the local economy, will be unavailable for an indefinite period whilst it being used as a Nightingale Hospital. Like the other Nightingale Hospitals it has only had a handful of patients so is currently sitting effectively unused.

The entire country has been significantly disrupted by the lockdown that has been in place to restrict the spread of the virus. However, there are particular concerns about the impact on Harrogate's local economy which depends strongly on the business of the Convention Centre.

I'm disappointed to be told by the Council that we will have to wait to get a response on an issue of such importance at this crucial time."

Judith Rogerson, local Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson, submitted a question on this issue to the HBC Cabinet ahead of their meeting on Wednesday. However, in response she was told that the Cabinet would not be answering the question at this week's meeting and that it will instead be tabled at the next full Council meeting.

Judith Rogerson said:

"Whatever your thoughts on the Conservative Government's approach to Coronavirus, I know people in Harrogate and Knaresborough have been keen to make a big-hearted response. We should be proud of what our local community has achieved in coming together to help the most vulnerable and isolated.

But that doesn't mean local politicians get a free pass to avoid telling us how local businesses will be protected from the impact and what plans they have put in place to help. My question was intended to help put people in the picture to address some very real concerns. I'm disappointed to be told by the Council that we will have to wait to get a response on an issue of such importance at this crucial time."

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Judith Rogerson's question to the Harrogate Borough Council Cabinet:

"While full of praise for the NHS and those who have transformed the Convention Centre into a Nightingale Hospital, many residents are very concerned about the long term impact of this on the local economy. What is Harrogate Borough Council doing, alone and in conjunction with Andrew Jones MP, to ensure that the Convention Centre and other local businesses will be properly compensated or otherwise supported during and after this unprecedented period of disruption?"

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