Opinion: Brent residents and the economy need more than a ‘peri peri chicken’ policy

Zaffar Van Kalwala does not believe the chnancellor gave enough to Brent.

Zaffar Van Kalwala does not believe the chnancellor gave enough to Brent. - Credit: Archant

A cheeky Nandos, halloumi or a chicken katsu curry. Brent residents will be able to enjoy 50 per cent off when eating out, as announced in the government’s summer statement.

This may be a welcome boost for local restaurants but ONS figures reveal only 20 per cent of adults are happy to have a sit-down meal.

Brent has shown great resilience during Covid-19. However, the number of residents claiming out-of-work benefits has rocketed by 160pc since the March lockdown: 20,550 claimants require support due to the coronavirus.

16,000 retail workers are also losing their jobs. It’s unlikely the government’s Job Retention Bonus will save many jobs. The pandemic has made residents cautious about leaving their homes and spending money. There need to be real solutions to help local residents. Offering discounts and cutting stamp duty is not enough support for our borough. Also, going back to the future of austerity and cuts to local services will only cause more pain and suffering in Brent.

To help the recovery and stop more cuts, the government must get tough with firms like Amazon and Google using tax havens – this will also help our high streets. Last year Britain lost £22bn from companies avoiding tax.

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An opportunity fund should be created for Brent entrepreneurs, especially from BAME backgrounds, giving better access to capital and technology to local businesses will boost jobs and level-up our community.

A ‘peri peri chicken’ policy will not help Brent. Residents need proper opportunities to recover from the devastating effects of Covid-19.

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