Responding on 31 July to a reversal of plans to allow more small firms in England to re-open in August, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said “Today’s announcement will come as a massive blow to thousands of small firms, soon-to-be newlyweds, artists and sportspeople. However, we were warned that restrictions will need to be responsive to any resurgence in transmissions.

PICTURE: Nesa-by Makers/Unsplash

“If the rules for businesses are going to be stop-start – which is understandable  – then business support from government needs to reflect that fact. The job retention scheme, bounce back loan scheme and tax breaks have had a big impact to date, and it would be wrong to wind down support while restrictions are increased.

“What we absolutely have to avoid is a scenario where whole swathes of the small business community – not least those in the creative industries, tourism and leisure sectors – are wiped out entirely. And of course we still have thousands of company directors and newly self-employed who have been left with no help at all for more than 130 days.

“In Leicester, targeted support has thankfully now been announced for those impacted by local lockdown measures. We pushed hard for this, and welcome it – but it took far too long. Rather than a reduction of support, we will need to see that kind of positive response, more quickly, elsewhere if what we hoped would be a linear, gradual re-opening of all firms now faces significant disruption.”

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