Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
5:11 PM 22nd February 2021

Business Responds To Prime Minister’s Roadmap For Reopening In England

IoD welcomes irreversible plan to end lockdown

Responding to the roadmap set out today by the Prime Minister, IoD Director-General Jonathan Geldart said:

Jonathan Geldart
Jonathan Geldart
“The vaccine rollout has shown that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the UK and our economy, and today’s ​roadmap is another welcome step forward. But there is more ​work ahead for the Government.

" Directors and businesses ​of all sizes have faced a very testing 12 months and it is vital that they now have the tools to emerge stronger from the pandemic. ​Business leaders will welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to an irreversible ending of lockdown, but ​cashflow support needs to follow alongside the roadmap, ​with many small firms eager to see​ an extension to the furlough scheme and ​more discretionary grant fund​ing.

"It is crucial that businesses have clarity around how the Government perceives the UK is meeting its ​four key tests ​to help them plan, taking into considering the lead time​s they need to ensure workplaces are Covid-safe and so they can start rehiring.

"We look forward to hearing more details in next week’s Budget and press the Chancellor to ensure that those who have worked so hard to keep their business going are not left behind when we are so close to the finish line.”

BCC response to Prime Minister’s roadmap for reopening in England

Adam Marshall
Adam Marshall

Dr Adam Marshall, Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce said:

“It is helpful that many businesses across England can now see a path to restart and recovery. Absolute clarity and honesty will be needed every step of the way over the weeks ahead, so that businesses have a fighting chance to rebuild. The stop-start dynamic of the past year, which has so damaged businesses and communities, must come to an end.

“Even with the Prime Minister’s new roadmap, the future of thousands of firms and millions of jobs still hangs by a thread.

“Many hard-hit businesses simply don’t have the cash reserves needed to hold out several more months before they are allowed to reopen.

“Businesses will hold the Prime Minister to his pledge to support firms for the duration of the pandemic, as this gruelling marathon nears its end. Businesses have haemorrhaged billions of pounds over the past year and need action now.

“All the key support schemes for business should be extended – through the summer and wherever possible throughout 2021 – to ensure that as many viable firms as possible can make it to the finish line and recover.”

On vaccination and testing, Dr Marshall added:
“It is also critical that alongside the pace of the vaccination programme, workplace testing is expanded to businesses of all sizes and continued for as long as is necessary – to help keep our companies and communities open over the months ahead.”

On international travel, Dr Marshall said:

“The safe restart of international travel is critical to UK trade, to hundreds of thousands of UK jobs, and to the prospects for a Global Britain. Companies want hard answers and a coordinated international approach agreed as soon as possible.”

On businesses facing the longest possible restrictions, Dr Marshall said:

“The long wait continues for some businesses of critical importance to our local economies, including events. The task forces convened to look at how to reopen these sectors must deliver results quickly.”

Beckie Hart
Beckie Hart
Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire & the Humber Director:

“The Prime Minister’s roadmap offers hope that the country can get back to business in the coming months.

“The roadmap is a good starting point to the hard yards ahead and caution is rightly the watchword. Businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber back the step-by-step approach to re-opening and an end to damaging stop-start restrictions. And getting children back into the classroom first is as much a priority for business as it is for families across the country.

“We now need to turn this roadmap into genuine economic momentum. The Budget is the second half of this announcement – extending business support in parallel to restrictions will give firms a bridge to the other side. This is particularly needed for sectors who will have to wait for up to three months to re-open and have an anxious 10 days ahead before the Budget.

“Meanwhile businesses are committed to working with government to refresh practical guidance for firms and to fast-track the roll out of tests in workplaces in the months ahead.

Andy Wood
Andy Wood
Andy Wood, Managing Partner at Grant Thornton in Yorkshire and the North East said: “The Government’s roadmap out of lockdown is welcomed – we now have a clear timetable to work towards, though ongoing financial support for businesses still unable to trade for some months is clearly required.

“It’s important too that we remain vigilant as we share a responsibility of protecting ourselves, our communities and the NHS - infection rates are still very high in parts of our region such as Bradford, Wakefield and Teesside, and the virus remains a threat. As lockdown measures are relaxed it’s possible that infection rates could spike so it’s really important that people continue to follow all the rules.”

“With good news coming every day on the vaccines, the roadmap offers a pragmatic and safe route out of lockdown in England. Yorkshire and Humber businesses will play their full part in doing so with public health in mind and the confidence to kickstart a recovery.”