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East Midlands Chamber News

Government must share plans for reopening economy with businesses, says Chamber after East Midlands is placed into Tier 4 restrictions

Responding to the Government’s latest review on local lockdowns, in which the entire East Midlands was placed into Tier 4 restrictions, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Confirmation that Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire will be placed under the most severe restrictions is an extremely negative way to end what has been a desperate year for many businesses and communities.

“This announcement delivers another huge blow to business confidence, just as some signs of light were spotted on the horizon with an EU trade deal being agreed and a second vaccine approved by regulators.

“After the cancellation of Christmas for firms in industries such as hospitality, events and tourism, many sectors have been looking to 2021 for a fresh start, but instead even more companies will now be held back.

“Of course, we understand the Government has a very difficult task on its hands in managing the escalating number of coronavirus cases resulting from this new strain, but businesses are still being left to pick up the pieces – with the cashflow crisis of 2020 in real danger of turning into an insolvency crisis of 2021.

“Extending the Job Retention Scheme until the end of April was a welcome move in preventing an immediate unemployment disaster, but Government now needs to up its game when it comes to supporting those businesses that have been hugely affected throughout the best part of a year with grants.

“As we prepare to say goodbye to 2020, let’s hope Westminster’s New Year’s resolution is to have learned its lessons from the test and trace catastrophe when it comes to managing a fast, effective and efficient vaccine rollout – as well as having open lines of communication with businesses by sharing its plan for how the brakes will be gradually lifted on the economy.

“We simply can’t afford to sit on our hands and wait it out.”