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East Midlands Chamber News

Christmas is firmly cancelled now for hospitality industry, says East Midlands Chamber after update on local lockdown restrictions

Responding to a Government update on lockdown restrictions in which it was confirmed that Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire will remain in Tier 3, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Today’s announcement confirms what many businesses had been fearing ever since we came out of national lockdown – that Christmas is indeed cancelled this year for parts of the economy that would usually prosper most during this time of year.

“There had been a glimmer of hope that restrictions would be eased in time for what is usually the busiest part of the festive period but effectively closing down the hospitality industry – as well as others such as events and tourism – in the East Midlands will now have a huge impact on affected businesses.

“Christmas income usually helps firms stock up cashflow to get through quieter periods in the first few months of the following year, so without this the Government must really step up and offer greater financial support that is targeted to those who need it most.

“Our most recent Quarterly Economic Survey, carried out in November, shows cashflow has worsened for the region’s businesses during every three-month period this year and, if we’re not careful, the cashflow crisis of 2020 will soon turn into the insolvency crisis of 2021.

Businesses still await transparency over lockdown decisions

“At the beginning of this month, the Chamber wrote to the Prime Minister, joining the British Chambers of Commerce in requesting full transparency from Government for businesses about the evidence base it is using to make decisions on closures. We are still waiting for this and there continues to be significant dissatisfaction among firms that are forced to close through no fault of their own and despite the major investment many have made in order to be Covid-secure.

“The data shows coronavirus cases and deaths have fallen dramatically in the East Midlands, with many rates below the national average, and yet there remains little sign of what the exit strategy is.

“It’s now the responsibility of Government to be clear on what exactly must happen for areas to come out of the heaviest local restrictions, as every week that passes under economic shutdown risks a longer and slower recovery, which will ultimately result in people losing their jobs, businesses and livelihoods.”