Tier 4 restrictions a 'torrid end to a torrid year' for Lancashire businesses

Business leaders have reacted with dismay once again after the sudden "disruptive" decision to place all of Lancashire into Tier 4 restrictions overnight.

Thursday, 31st December 2020, 10:40 am
Updated Thursday, 31st December 2020, 10:42 am
Health secretrary Matt Hancock says the measures are necessary

While business groups understand the need to protect the public from the coronavirus they are increasingly concerned how stop-start trading is affecting thousands of livelihoods.

They have again called for suport packages to be strengthened.

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Whilst we accept the government must act in the best interest of public health, it must also address the economic consequences of its actions.

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"The Chancellor must act with the utmost urgency to help businesses who have been forced to either shut their doors , paid for stock they now can’t sell and whose cash flow projections have once again been thrown into chaos."

The Blackpool-headquartered Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “While there is clear understanding of the overriding need to protect public health and combat coronavirus, fresh restrictions have brought renewed disruption and financial pressure for the many small businesses affected.

“While some of the flagship schemes have been extended, the current approach to lockdown grants in England is much less generous and is not covering the huge and increasing costs.

"We therefore believe the time has come for a second round of small business cash grants to match those in the first wave lockdown back in the Spring."

Mr Cherry added: “Some had to close their doors at a few hours’ notice during what should have been the busy run-up to Christmas. Many will have filled their stockrooms, only to have their ability to sell the stock taken away suddenly.

“These businesses have already faced months of on-off disruption and lost revenue, many have already taken out loans. They need a new level of assistance to match the new level of restrictions forced upon them, to allow them to survive the period of vaccine roll-out."

Damian Waters, CBI North West Director, said: “Increasing infection numbers, coupled with the identification of the new Covid-19 variant, means the Government must act to protect public health.

“But tightening restrictions across many areas provides a torrid end to an already tough year for many businesses.

“There is now a growing need to re-evaluate Government support in January to ensure firms can survive through to the Spring and beyond.

“While the vaccine rollout and efforts to increase mass rapid testing offer hope going into 2021, it is clear challenges will continue well into next year. Steadfast support should continue to help struggling firms and lay the foundations for the economic recovery.”

TUC North West Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said: “These restrictions in Lancashire are necessary. But they are another hammer blow for struggling parts of the economy like hospitality and retail.

“Without more support from the government, jobs will be lost and businesses will close."