Monday, 14 June 2021
Delay to end of Covid-19 restrictions must be met with continued support for businesses, says East Midlands Chamber
Responding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that the Government will delay stage four of its roadmap to end Covid-19 restrictions by four weeks, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Today’s announcement that coronavirus restrictions will no longer end on 21 June is a huge disappointment to everyone and means businesses will have to stagger on for four weeks longer than they’d anticipated. Without proper support, for some this may prove to be one setback too many.
“It’s crucial that the Chancellor responds immediately by providing enhanced support in the form of grants for businesses in the hardest-hit sectors until the economy is able to reopen fully.
“Every week that goes by in which restrictions are in place has a real-life impact on the owners of hospitality, events and leisure businesses in particular as they must operate significantly under capacity.
“Many of these companies, already tight on cashflow, will have spent lots of money on marketing, staffing up and perishable stock in preparation for a milestone that is no longer happening.
“The Government must now postpone the tapering of furlough, which was due to commence on 1 July, for the duration of the extension to the roadmap, while grants would also help many of these businesses that have lost both expenditure and expected income.
“This must be the final delay to lockdown restrictions and, indeed, the four weeks should be a maximum period. The Prime Minister has consistently said his policy would be dictated by ‘data, not dates’ – therefore if the increase in Covid-19 cases doesn’t translate into significant numbers of hospitalisations and deaths, we would expect stage four of the roadmap to commence at the earliest opportunity.”