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Dorset Chamber comment – Prime Minister Boris Johnson Covid lockdown announcement
Posted on: 22/02/2021
Dorset Chamber and British Chambers of Commerce comment – Prime Minister Boris Johnson Covid lockdown announcement
Ian Girling, Dorset Chamber chief executive, said:
“The Prime Minister’s roadmap finally provides some very welcome direction of travel.
“Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, many businesses in the hardest hits sectors such as non-essential retail, leisure and hospitality may be disappointed with the timescales and feel he is being overly cautious.
“The roadmap shows that the earliest opening date for such sectors falls after the Easter weekend, but it does at least give businesses a timeframe to work to.
“Clearly, it is now up to all of us to take every step necessary to ensure we hit each milestone on the roadmap at the very earliest opportunity.
“We also require clarity from the Chancellor in the Budget next week about support for businesses and re-assurance that there will be no cliff-edge when it comes to phasing this out.”
Dr Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce said:
“It is helpful that many businesses across England can now see a path to restart and recovery. Absolute clarity and honesty will be needed every step of the way over the weeks ahead, so that businesses have a fighting chance to rebuild. The stop-start dynamic of the past year, which has so damaged businesses and communities, must come to an end.
“Even with the Prime Minister’s new roadmap, the future of thousands of firms and millions of jobs still hangs by a thread.
“Many hard-hit businesses simply don’t have the cash reserves needed to hold out several more months before they are allowed to reopen.
“Businesses will hold the Prime Minister to his pledge to support firms for the duration of the pandemic, as this gruelling marathon nears its end. Businesses have haemorrhaged billions of pounds over the past year and need action now.
“All the key support schemes for business should be extended – through the summer and wherever possible throughout 2021 – to ensure that as many viable firms as possible can make it to the finish line and recover.”
On vaccination and testing, Marshall added:
“It is also critical that alongside the pace of the vaccination programme, workplace testing is expanded to businesses of all sizes and continued for as long as is necessary – to help keep our companies and communities open over the months ahead.”
On international travel, Marshall said:
“The safe restart of international travel is critical to UK trade, to hundreds of thousands of UK jobs, and to the prospects for a Global Britain. Companies want hard answers and a coordinated international approach agreed as soon as possible.”
On businesses facing the longest possible restrictions, Marshall said:
“The long wait continues for some businesses of critical importance to our local economies, including events. The task forces convened to look at how to reopen these sectors must deliver results quickly.”
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