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East Midlands Chamber News

We must end ‘stop-start’ approach to economy, says East Midlands Chamber

Responding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments today (Monday 15 February) ahead of the Government’s roadmap for ending coronavirus lockdown restrictions, East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “After a miserable start to the year for businesses, they will welcome the Prime Minister’s promise for the easing of lockdown restrictions to be ‘irreversible’.

“The second half of last year was besieged by a stop-start approach to the economy caused by various local and national lockdowns, wreaking havoc on businesses as forced closures meant they wasted time and money on stocking up on perishable goods.

“This aspect of how lockdowns affect firms has arguably gone under the radar and, if the economy is to recover properly, we need an environment that allows them to plan for future trading, resource themselves accordingly and invest in appropriate stock levels.

“We recognise the need for a cautious approach from Government to how lockdown is eased but we can’t let this slow us down too much and the right balance must be struck. It’s also imperative that as each restriction is removed, it mustn’t be reapplied – and the Prime Minister upholds his promise for the end of this economic shutdown to indeed be ‘irreversible’.

“Of course, it may still be some time away until every business can operate fully and, in the meantime, the Government must continue to do all it can to provide the necessary financial support in the form of grants to keep these companies that will soon prove themselves to be viable afloat. Westminster should also be communicating effectively and openly with businesses in each industry about exactly how the reopening will be handled so it can fully factor in their experiences and needs.

“If all this happens, then we can finally begin to look ahead to the rest of 2021 with optimism.”