Local MP, Caroline Dinenage, has called for the Government to provide further support for women in enterprise who have been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Caroline has long campaigned for measures to inspire female entrepreneurs and support women in business, having run her own business for 20 years prior to becoming an MP.
During her role as Minister of Women and Equalities 2015-2017 Caroline championed getting more women on boards and introduced legislation on Gender Pay Gap reporting. She also hosted an event for International Women’s Day 202, aimed at encouraging more women to get start and grow their own businesses.
Women are more likely to run businesses in sectors that had to completely shut-down during Covid lockdowns, such as hospitality (23% of women vs 16% of men). In addition, mothers were 47% more likely to have permanently lost their jobs or resigned as a result of COVID-19.
Even prior to the pandemic, research by HM Treasury found that around one-third of women said access to funding is the biggest barrier to starting a business, compared to 20% of men.
Caroline expressed her concerns surrounding this to the Minister:
“Covid has been particularly impactful on women led businesses because of the sectors they are predominant in. What more can the Government do to support them?”
Kemi Badenoch MP, Minister for Equalities:
“The honourable lady makes an important point. Some of the sectors most impacted by covid such as the arts and hospitality include a high proportion of women led businesses. She will be aware of the targeted measures to help these sectors that were announced just last month by my Right Honourable Friend the Chancellor. This included one off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for the hospitality sector and £30m through the culture recovery fund.
“This support will help female entrepreneurs to keep trading through the current difficulties and make the most of future opportunities as they look forward to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Caroline provided further comment on the issue:
“This issue is one that is close to my heart. I have strived to inspire women and girls to become business and career women and I don’t want the pandemic to adversely impact them or discourage them from pursuing their careers.
“I want to ensure female entrepreneurs receive the support that they vitally need at this time.”