Chamber calls for more support for businesses to avoid 'mass redundancies'

Cumbria's Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to do more to support struggling businesses during the pandemic, warning of 'mass redundancies'.

The chamber's Chief Executive says the government's current job support scheme doesn't go far enough. The government says it has provided more than £200 billion pounds to businesses since March.

Rob Johnston is a co-signatory of a letter from chief executives of Chambers across the UK.

It sets out five tests to limit the impact of coronavirus restrictions, criticises the Government’s “short-term decision making” and calls for improvements to NHS Test and Trace.

It says: “With increasing tiered restrictions, the situation for business grows graver by the day.

“While the announcement of an enhanced Job Support Scheme will assist some firms, Chamber members tell us it will not be enough to stave off mass redundancies and business failures.”

Credit: PA

The letter was delivered to the Prime Minister on Saturday, the day Barrow entered Tier-2 Covid restrictions. Mr Johnson said: “We’re particularly concerned about Tier-2 areas like Barrow where firms are able to open but where demand has been hit dramatically due to government restrictions.

“New restrictions must go hand-in-hand with commensurate financial support for wages and day-to-day running costs.”

Rob added: “It’s vital that the Government protects the wealth creators. Cumbria is particularly exposed because we have a high proportion of small and medium-sized businesses.

“While large businesses can contract and bounce back later, many of these smaller businesses are running out of cash and could go under. Once they’re gone, they’re lost for good.”