Business groups have called on the government to extend its coronavirus (COVID-19) support through to the end of the roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions.
The roadmap will see all pupils in England’s schools return to class from 8 March. Meanwhile, shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality, as well as self-contained holiday accommodation, can re-open on 12 April. From 17 May cinemas, museums and hotels will also re-open.
The final step from 21 June will potentially see all legal limits on social contact removed.
Tony Danker, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: ‘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 ten days ahead before the Budget.’
Natalie Gasson-McKinley, Development Manager at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: ‘The Chancellor must deliver on the Prime Minister’s ‘whatever it takes’ pledge at next week’s Budget. On one side of the coin we have continued restrictions – on the other, we need corresponding business support.
‘Whatever it takes means bringing those overlooked by current support measures into the fold, including suppliers, directors and the newly self-employed. Upwards of a million small business owners and sole traders are currently receiving no direct help whatsoever.’