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Response to second lockdown in England

Posted on: 31/10/2020

Dorset Chamber comments on the announcement of a second month long national lockdown. 

Chief Executive Ian Girling said:

“There is no doubt many businesses will be devastated by this second lockdown, particularly when they have already done all they can to comply with requirements. These announcements have been made in a hap-hazard way and whilst we have seen some relief with the extension of the furlough scheme until December, this is only a short-term solution. Many businesses are already in a very precarious position and forward financial support for employers and employees needs commensurate with the scale of restrictions imposed.

“This time needs to be used to enable mass test and trace systems and the development of a long-term strategy to dealing with this pandemic. Hopefully this will also be a wakeup call for the many individuals who continue to blatantly ignore requirements – and businesses are paying the price for this. Everyone has to do their bit in this time of crisis.”

 

Dorset Chamber is one of 53 Chambers across the UK affiliated to the British Chambers of Commerce.

Director General Adam Marshall said: 

“There’s no getting around the fact that these new restrictions will be a devastating blow to business communities who have done everything in their power to adapt and operate safely.

“Business and market confidence have been hit hard by the unclear, stop-start approach taken by governments across the UK over the past eight months, with little end in sight. Many firms are in a much weaker position now than at the start of the pandemic, making it far more challenging to survive extended closures or demand restrictions.

The temporary extension of the furlough scheme will bring short-term relief to many firms, and responds to Chambers’ call for business support to be commensurate with the scale of the restrictions imposed. While there is no substitute for a functioning economy, the full financial support package for businesses facing hardship, whether through loss of demand or closure, must immediately be clarified and communicatedSustained help must be available to employers, to the self-employed and to the many businesses and individuals that have not been able to access any of the government’s schemes to date.

“The Government must not squander the time afforded to them through another lockdown to enable mass testing and fix Test and Trace systems – which hold the key to a lasting exit strategy for both public health and the economy.

“We will be examining the detail of new restrictions and support carefully over the coming days, together with Chamber business leaders across the country. Business communities will judge them on whether they are clear and evidencebased – and on whether businesses are able to see when these restrictions may come to an end.”

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