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21 Feb 2022

End of Covid-19 restrictions will offer certainty to businesses at a challenging time, says East Midlands Chamber

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s announcement today (21 February) that all Covid-19 legal restrictions will be lifted, East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “While no-one will truly believe we are fully out of the woods yet with regards to the pandemic, the incredible success of our vaccine rollout to date means we have thankfully reached the point when personal responsibility must take precedent above constant state intervention in our day-to-day lives.

“Businesses will be significantly emboldened by confirmation that all legal restrictions have now been lifted as it finally provides the certainty they have lacked for the best part of two years – an important condition for any organisation as it encourages them to invest in growth, which creates jobs and wealth locally.

“This announcement comes at an important point in the economic recovery, which after strong growth throughout much of 2021 has looked somewhat delicate in recent months, as illustrated by the Chamber’s State of the Economy Index falling in the final quarter of last year for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic.

“In our Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2021, there was a 2% drop in the proportion of businesses intending to invest in machinery compared to the previous quarter, and a 7% in those anticipating investment in training staff, as a result of diminished confidence.

“Since this research was published, we’ve also seen the cost of doing business accelerate in line with significant inflationary pressures alongside other issues such as supply chain bottlenecks and rising energy prices.

“While these issues aren’t going away in the short to medium term, removing the legal requirement to self-isolate should at least give businesses confidence about the availability of their employees after the staff shortage challenges we saw over the festive period in particular.

“Of course, some people will be concerned about whether the Government is lifting all restrictions too early. However, today’s removal of restrictions allows businesses to plan with confidence and make their own measured Covid-19 management plans.”