'No more Saturday night unexpected and unwelcome announcements please' commerce boss tells Boris.
- Credit: Archant
Chamber of commerce chief executive John Bridge warned of the perilous fate of many Cambridgeshire businesses if they fail to obtain Government support during the pandemic.
He told his 1,000 plus members that the introduction of an additional tier without warning or additional help as a “huge blow to business people who wanted nothing more than to be able to trade safely through the holiday season and beyond?”
Mr Bridge, who has run the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce for nearly 17 years, said that with Boris Johnson announcing “sudden and unexpected changes” late on a Saturday, and with far reaching consequences, it left many with no time to plan
“My emotions from last night have not subsided as Christmas was already cancelled for many businesses and individuals, but even more will now suffer as a result of this last-minute decision,” he said.
“While Government must act on public health concerns, it must also address the economic consequences of its actions.
“There must be more help for firms being forced to shut their doors - and for those who have paid for stock they now can’t sell? What support will there be for companies whose cash flow projections have once again been thrown into chaos?”
Mr Bridge said that huge numbers of firms already on the edge, it would be “reprehensible for further restrictions or closures to be announced in the future without a more comprehensive package of support in place”.
These were needed, he said, to give businesses the confidence that ministers will stand by them through an uncertain year ahead.
Mr Bridge said: “The Prime Minister said that if the facts change you have to change your approach.
“Businesses understand that and will of course respond.
“The Government must urgently show that it’s change of approach also extends to recognising the disproportionate effect these steps have on the mass of businesses specifically in Peterborough – particularly as so many have planned to recoup some of their 2020 lost revenue during Christmas and New Year period.
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“The Chancellor must without delay announce exceptional and immediate cash and grant aid for all retail, leisure and hospitality business that will be shutting their doors today.
“He must also issue appropriate instructions to banks and landlords, and must suspend the payment of all forms of taxes and rates to national and local government bodies.”
Mr Bridge added: “The last-minute addition of a new tier and constant moving goal posts makes it impossible for businesses to plan ahead with any degree of confidence. Government needs to set out an approach that provides more stability and clarity for business.
“No more Saturday night unexpected and unwelcome announcements please”.