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East Midlands Chamber News

Government obfuscation has ‘real-world impacts’ on businesses and employees, says East Midlands Chamber

Commenting on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement regarding new coronavirus restrictions today (22 September), Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), said: “There’s a delicate balance to be had between economic and public health, but the dramatic shifts in sentiment from Government played out in the media has a detrimental impact on the confidence of businesses and employees.

“Just a few weeks ago, we were being told to try get back to normal, but many will have heard announcements from the past couple of days and read it as being told to hunker down for the next six months.

“That’s no way for an economy to function and will have a real impact on decision-making among businesses, many of which have invested heavily in making their premises Covid-secure for employees and customers alike.

“Businesses have also voiced concerns about the impact that continued home-working has on staff mental health, the development of younger employees and broader business culture – issues often overlooked in discussions, but which can have a lasting impact well after coronavirus is under control.

“Specifically on hospitality, we’ve seen many pubs, restaurants and other businesses do all they can to ensure the right measures have been put in place to create Covid-secure venues for their staff and customers, and will feel victimised by the latest restrictions affecting their industry.

“Closing these establishments at 10pm feels an arbitrary time and will have a significant knock-on impact on other aspects of the night-time economy, particularly in town and city centres, such as hotels, takeaways, taxis and public transport. These businesses will require additional support to offset the income they will lose as a result of these measures.

“To really get the economy moving again, what we need is an effective test and trace system along with better communication from Government about the country’s strategy to overcome this. New or potential measures are being leaked ahead of announcements, have lacked proper detail and caused confusion.

“Obfuscation has real-world impacts in terms of how businesses invest, recruit and plan for growth, and can’t be allowed to continue.”