Business worries grow says MP 

Louise Upston 

Businesses in Cambridge are increasingly concerned about surviving alert level 2, Taupō MP Louise Upston says.

She said that was the feedback she was getting from Cambridge Chamber of Commerce chief Kelly Bouzaid

“Businesses reaching out to my electorate office too report the wage subsidy scheme as a significant area of concern for many.  We’ve been inundated with complaints about delays to wage subsidy applications through the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and many businesses are confused about when applications can be made.”

Stuff reported late last week that businesses were continuing to complain of delays receiving wage subsidies but that the MSD said most of the issues were not within its control.

Applications for those payments closed last Friday.

Louise Upston said her office had received more than 30 requests from businesses and self-employed people seeking help with their wage subsidy application, including seven from Cambridge based businesses.

Some were not aware that the rules have changed.

“Unlike last year’s lockdown, businesses must reapply for the wage subsidy payments and can only do so two weeks after receipt of payment of the first subsidy.

“In addition, the first application round closed earlier than advertised, which meant many businesses missed out on applying.”

The MP said she was pleased “following my team’s advocacy with MSD” applications were processed promptly, with funding appearing in their accounts within a day or two in many cases.

She had written to Minister of Social Development & Employment Carmel Sepuloni to request businesses be allowed to apply for the first payment round until Friday this week, regardless of whether the early closure of applications impacted a business or not.

There was confusion about whether businesses would qualify for any further wage subsidies when Auckland moves to alert level 2, “and we are making enquiries with the Minister’s offices in that regard”.

“I look forward to the Government’s response to my request on behalf of businesses who want to be able to retain and pay their workers.  New Zealanders have been doing their bit and deserve a fair go in these difficult times,” she said.

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