On Friday Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a successor to the furlough scheme which “should cushion the blow” to those affected.
The director general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said, “The chancellor’s more generous job support for those under strict restrictions should cushion the blow for the most affected and keep more people in work.
“But many firms, including pubs and restaurants, will still be hugely disappointed if they have to close their doors again after doing so much to keep customers and staff safe.”
Chief Executive, Richard Burge of London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) said, “London businesses will of course welcome recognition from the Government that support is needed, should restrictions force them to close. They now know the parameters of support and can do their best to plan for the worst.
“But I’m fearful that less generous wage support than when this crisis started, at a time when cashflow has been drained and revenue not recovered, will not be enough if business closures are prolonged. And rents and rates will likely quickly overwhelm grants.
“The Government must urgently get a grip of Test and Trace so that we can try and limit the severity of restrictions this winter. Right now the system is jeopardising the diligent efforts of business to keep our economy moving in a Covid secure way. They must also ensure that any business closures are driven by a specific evidence basis for that decision and explained. Not just proclamations about common sense.
“The banks must also step up to the plate. Businesses will likely again need access to loans and we need banks to be like an emergency service, acting in the shared interests of this country, socially obligated.”
The expansion to the scheme will start from 1 November and will be reviewed after six months.