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Politics / Impact on small businesses raised as Carmichael meets prime minister to discuss coronavirus response

Alistair Carmichael outside Number 10 Downing Street on Friday.

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has raised the impact the coronavirus outbreak will have on small businesses, the self-employed and community organisations in a meeting with prime minister Boris Johnson.

The Lib Dem met Johnson alongside other senior opposition MPs at 10 Downing Street on Friday (20 March) to discuss the government’s response to the spread of coronavirus.

The talks related to an emergency bill tabled by the government to respond to the disease.

Speaking after the meeting, Carmichael said: “I am glad that the prime minister is engaging with all parties to take input into the emergency legislation.

“The government must act urgently, however, to get financial support to those who desperately need it.

“I raised with the prime minister the issue of small businesses, the self-employed and community organisations, which will be some of the hardest hit by the economic impact of the virus.

“That the prime minister is aware of these concerns is welcome. If he is to maintain the political consensus that we have seen thus far, he must take swift action to support these groups.”

Carmichael added that “all sides agree that this must not be treated as a party-political issue”.

“We will, however, continue to hold the government to account on their handling of the virus,” he said.

“Cross-party support is essential and the Conservatives must put common sense over ideological concerns.”

As of 9am on Friday (20 March) 3,269 people in the UK had tested positive for the virus, with a total of 144 deaths.