West Country businesses say they need clear government support during third lockdown

Credit: ITV News West Country

Businesses in the West Country have been left in the dark about what support they will receive during the third national lockdown, according to a chamber of commerce.

Business West said many have been left "baffled and disappointed" to see the Government has not announced any new support measures.

On Monday night (4 January) the Prime Minister announced the strictest regulations since the first national lockdown in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.

  • Watch: Boris Johnson makes third national lockdown announcement

Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, beauty salons and gyms and sports clubs must now close again.

Business West supports companies in Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, and described the lockdowns as a "body blow" to businesses.

Managing Director Phil Smith said this lockdown is also "hard on the heels of lost trade during the festive season and uncertainty linked to the end of the Brexit transition period."

Shops will be shut until at least the middle of February. Credit: ITV News West Country

He added that "tens of thousands of firms are already in a precarious position, and now face a period of further hardship and difficulty". 

"These businesses must not be allowed to fail now, when the vaccine rollout provides light at the end of this long tunnel. The financial support for businesses needs to be stepped up in line with the devastating restrictions being placed on them. Otherwise, many of these firms may simply not be there to power our recovery when we emerge once again," he said.

The Mayor of Bristol says he is once again calling for more clear and urgent action to save local businesses. Credit: ITV News West Country

These calls have been echoed by the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, who said urgent action is needed to save local businesses and the self employed.

Mr Rees said: “Bristol has 30,200 self-employed people, and only 24,400 were eligible for the original Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Thousands of people were considered not eligible by government and left behind without the support they need.

"Additional funding of around £1m per month is needed to support hundreds of traders through the next few weeks.”

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