As the second wave of Covid-19 spreads rapidly across the province, the Official Opposition is repeating their call for the Higgs government to provide financial support to New Brunswick businesses affected by the pandemic.
“With the province in the Orange level and Red level, some businesses are forced to close their doors and most people are rightfully following the advice of public health by staying home and only going out for essentials,” says the Official Opposition critic for Economic Development and Small Business, Gilles LePage. “However, we have to recognize that this has an impact on the patronage of our local businesses that are already struggling to make ends meet, and the province has the duty to step up and provide the financial aid necessary to keep these businesses afloat.”
LePage says it is more critical than ever for the Higgs government to target what businesses need help and provide temporary financial aid. A letter from Roger Melanson as Leader of the Official Opposition was sent to Premier Higgs urging Government to step up with additional programs to support business.
“Businesses were first asked to close in order to protect public health over 10 months ago. Since then, our businesses have invested out of pocket to ensure they are compliant with Public Health regulations while being forced to absorb significant losses,” says LePage. “Thankfully, the federal government has been supporting our businesses for some time now, but those funds won’t be available forever. There are various ways Premier Higgs can help our businesses, including reducing or eliminating some government fees, providing direct financial aid for fixed costs such as salaries and rent or mortgages, and delaying the deadline for the payment of property taxes.”
The Official Opposition Finance critic, Rob McKee, is expressing serious concern about New Brunswick’s economy if the Premier doesn’t bring a comprehensive plan forward to stimulate the economy and support businesses.
“Anyone who works in business or finance can tell you it’s easier to support an existing business than to support a starting business. It’s time for Premier Higgs to follow the lead of the other Canadian Premiers and do its fair share in supporting our businesses by putting provincial money forward,” says McKee. “It is long past time for the Higgs government to present a real economic recovery plan that takes advantage of the Federal money currently being left on the table.”