Chamber calls for further support for businesses in the wake of national lockdown

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to “go much, much further” in its support for firms throughout 2021.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £4.6 billion package of support for businesses affected by the latest lockdown earlier today in the wake of the national lockdown announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night.

As part of this package retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will be able to access one-off grants of up to £9,000.

Paul Simon, head of communications and policy at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, called for the government to provide a “New Deal for Business”.

He said: “Suffolk’s business community is crying out for the Government to get a strategic grip on the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating economic and social consequences.

“Today’s £4bn support package announced by Rishi Sunak will certainly go some way to reducing the full impact of the new lockdown on businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in the short-term.

“But Suffolk Chamber wants the government to go much, much further and take a far more strategic and planned approach to business support across 2021, alongside a sustained step change in the rollout of the vaccines.

“It is vital that the government now articulates its full programme of support for the next 12 months, including a Budget which reboots how and when firms pay tax so as to boost and not penalise long-term risk-taking and growth.

“As the year progresses, we want to see a longer-term pivot in that support from assisting sectors that are in particular distress to a programme that also boosts the growth of emerging sectors, such as renewable energy, the land-based economy and broadband and digital connectivity businesses.

“This must include a nationals skills programme, based on the British Chambers of Commerce’s Workplace Training & Development Commission recommendations aimed at giving existing workers the opportunities to reskill and adapt to the accelerated pace of change that will be the hallmark of future decades.

“In short, a New Deal for Business is required. Suffolk Chamber and its members are ready and willing to help develop and influence that fundamental realignment.”

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