Message from Cllr Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull MBC – 23 April

Hard to think about now, but we do need to prepare for better times 

The government has taken unprecedented steps to provide support for business and the Council is right behind all these efforts. Many of our teams have been redeployed for this purpose. 

At a time when everyone is being asked to stay at home, and save lives, we also need to make sure we have jobs and businesses to return to; we must have hope for life after this dreadful pandemic. 

Some local businesses, we know, are really struggling and we are doing all that we can to support them as quickly as possible. This includes issuing immediate support through business grants and offering rate relief…yet we know there are still some 35% of eligible businesses who haven’t applied for the business grants. 

Here is a link to the form ( to get this support. There are more details here ( 

During this time, we are also applying our minds to what will be needed to assist an economic recovery: support for jobs, bringing forward development projects, support for the high street, as well as striving to meet housing need. 

Our high streets are quiet. But behind the scenes, it is incredible how businesses are making efforts to adapt to new ways of working, diversifying into other areas, using the time to plan for recovery and ensuring that their businesses are ready for when lockdown ends. 

Fantastic work is going on within the borough: some of our large employers are right behind the national effort – such as Rolls Royce, part of the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium and IMI who are manufacturing component parts to support the UK’s supply of ventilators. 

Our smaller and medium sized enterprises are also critical – service firms helping clients with changing business plans; financial advice; local retailers who have quickly adapted and are offering home delivery services, serving their local communities through this period. 

Support will be needed for our towns and local centres as they emerge from lockdown; we need to ensure we retain our place as one of the UK’s favourite locations for people to live and work; back our retailers and independent businesses by reinforcing the ‘Shop Local’ message, as well as carefully planned events, as and when it is safe to do so. 

We have a hard working Solihull for Success team and we will be seeking to link our local businesses to new opportunities – work on projects such as HS2 is continuing; our economy needs to benefit from the procurement needed and construction sites that will be set up to support its development. Tourism and hospitality businesses need to be primed to take advantage of the upcoming regional 2022 Commonwealth Games and Coventry’s 2021 City of Culture. We must maximise the benefits for Solihull. 

A particular focus will be on our people: linking residents to employment support and jobs. Those needing help can contact Lita Thornhill from our Employment and Skills Team on 07557 633369 or via email [email protected] . Individual support is available for those who want to consider self-employment or develop their own business ideas. Anyone interested can call our Enterprise for Success team on 0121 516 0330 or visit  

I will want to hear from our local business community about their challenges and opportunities. It is important that they help us shape our plans and make sure we are meeting the needs of all sectors and every scale of company. I encourage businesses to get in touch if they have ideas and also please respond to requests for information that may come from our Business Investment Team. Help us gather intelligence and shape our response! 

For the latest information and business support, look at our Solihull for Success web pages: or get in touch with the Business Investment Team at [email protected]

Two points to update you on:- 

We have temporarily suspended car park and on street parking bay charges, in Solihull town centre, Knowle and Shirley. 

To support our residents at this difficult time, we will also be opening our cemeteries from 9am to 6pm at weekends, for personal visits to graves and memorials….please do remember the social distancing guidance when visiting our cemeteries.  

When we clap on this St George’s Day Thursday for the NHS and care workers, can we also pay tribute to all our Council colleagues and contractors who are collecting our bins, working behind the scenes to help our vulnerable citizens, and all others who are working hard to keep the borough going in this most difficult of times – thank you and take care.  

Stay home, protect our NHS and save lives