Pressure on business from all sides
Horrifying scenes from Ukraine have shocked the world and our local business community has been aghast at the terrible violence being unleashed. It has produced an immediate outpouring of support and a desire to do something to help. We have heard of some businesses taking direct action and sending goods by lorry direct to the disaster area. Others have helped financially, allowing charities to buy whatever is needed at the scene.
The next phase will be how to provide practical help for refugees. It’s good to see how pro-active the Council has been in setting up a register of those with suitable accommodation and we know that others, such as Curo, are preparing to offer support as they have done previously with Afghanistan and Syria. It remains to be seen how much demand there will be in the months to come.
Meanwhile, hopes of a return to something closer to normality have been hit by concerning rises in the number of Covid cases in Bath and North East Somerset, with around a thousand cases per hundred thousand people and increasing hospital admissions. Businesses had hoped to have seen a settled picture by now, but with no sign of an end to the pandemic and rapidly increasing inflation, particularly fuel prices, which will be painful in our rural area and there are a worrying range of uncertainties which makes long term planning virtually impossible.
The Bristol Clean Air Zone is also on its way and that could affect businesses operating there with vehicles that will attract a daily charge. One piece of good news is that people will still be able to apply to Bath and North East Somerset Council for a grant to help them buy a more modern vehicle which would be compliant with the rules in Bristol. Businesses may not have applied for funds when the Bath Clean Air Zone was created because it didn’t impact them. But they should still be able to get help with the costs of a new vehicle to use in Bristol.
Thank goodness we have plenty of creative people who have experienced tough times in the past – we’re going to need them.
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