Filey MP defends tweet saying he will use Government's emergency coronavirus loans for his estate agency firm

Filey’s MP has defended a Tweet saying he will be making use of the Government’s emergency coronavirus loans for his nationwide estate agency firm.

MP for Thirsk and Malton Kevin Hollinrake co-founded Hunters Estate Agents, which has over 200 branches across the country, a gross turnover of over £40m and around 1,000 employees.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton.

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton.

On Monday he posted: “No personal guarantees, no fees, 0 per cent interest for 12m, up to £5m. Our business will certainly use this.”

The Conservative MP was referring to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, aimed at making it easier for banks to lend and businesses to borrow as they face the impacts of the crisis.

But Scarborough Borough Councillor Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff (Ind, Hunmanby) has blasted Mr Hollinrake for the Tweet, saying she was appalled he would be using the scheme when so many in the area are not receiving the help they need.

"My main concern is lots of people who live in Hummanby and Filey are self-employed or are on zero-hours contracts because they do seasonal work. They're not getting enough support.

“He's a millionaire, he doesn't need any help!"

She accused Mr Hollinrake of not grasping the situation that many of his constituents find themselves in.

"I've had a woman get in touch who is self-isolating for 14 days and she is on a zero hours contract so she isn't getting any pay. I'm really concerned.”

Mr Hollinrake argued that he does recognise that people who are self-employed and in the gig economy are in need of more help, and has spoken in Parliament and written to the Chancellor to call for more assistance.

At the same time, he said, the loans would help many businesses keep going and their employees in work.

He said he has used personal funds to help his business in the past and would not rule out doing it again.

“We’re expecting between 80 and 90 per cent reduction in our turn out,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult, more so than in 2008.”

He urged businesses to make use of the loans to help get them through the crisis.

“I do think the effect of this will be short term if we do the right things,” he said.