Businesses on the brink: frustration as companies in the region are left in limbo

  • Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Matthew Hudson


Whilst lockdown eases for some businesses, others have been left in the dark about when they can re-open.

In St Ives in Cambridgeshire, AAA Inflatables is one of the largest indoor play centres in the Europe. However, due to the pandemic it has been standing empty for four months now due to it being classes as a 'soft play area' by the local council.

Soft play centres across the region have still not been told by the Government when they'll be able to open again. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The government has recently said that it will be keeping soft play centres 'under review' because of concerns about children social distancing, which means owners are unsure of when they can re-open.

Although staff are currently on furlough, soon employers will have to start to contribute towards the scheme, meaning that jobs at AAA inflatables might be lost.

If I know we were going to be opening in three, four weeks time then I could make decisions based on that. If you're going to pay towards furlough payments for the next two months and then find that we still don't have a date then that's more money that's disappeared, which we just don't have.

Chris Keen, owner

The weddings industry had also been preparing to restart again but hopes were dashed last month when plans to allow receptions of up to 30 guests were stopped when numbers of Covid cases rose.

Caroline Gould and Victoria Ewing are wedding planners in Suffolk, they told ITV News Anglia that they feel like they have been ignored.

Victoria Ewing and Caroline Gould run their own wedding planning business. Credit: ITV News Anglia

This year has gone, it's been obliterated and what's worse is the wedding industry as a whole feels as if it's completely been ignored. The support for hospitality does not exist for weddings we don't fall into those categories.

Victoria Ewing

The Pandemic has already started to have an impact on traditional business  sectors such as retail.

High street stores like Debenhams, Marks and Spencer and John Lewis have announced store closures and job losses, as well as Car Phone Warehouse saying that it'll axe 800 jobs. Hays travel has also announced that it is shedding 800 jobs and Luton's easyJet and Stansted Ryanair have also warned of significant cost cutting.

The food and drink industry has been particularly hard hit. Yesterday Pizza Express, founded by Peterborough businessman Peter Boizot, said 11 hundred jobs were at risk. 

Expert in Economics at Anglia Ruskin University, Dr Imko Meyenburg told ITV News Anglia that he doesn't think that redundancies will stop anytime soon.

All the signs, the consumer confidence the business confidence levels are all at the bottom at the moment. So we will see more redundancies and definitely also businesses going out of business.

Dr Imko Meyenburg