Tier 3 decision 'devastating' say Lancashire business chiefs

Business leaders have reacted with dismay at the news that Lancashire will remain in Tier 3.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 2:45 pm
Closed businesses and deserted streets in Lancashire during lockdown

The Government appears to have ignored calls for parts of Lancashire to be treated seperately.

So the entire county is now going into Christmas with pubs, restaurants and hotels unable to welcome visitors.

There are fears that many may not survive without more Government help.

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Geoff Mason, policy manager for the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: "The news that Lancashire will continue under Tier 3 restrictions will be devastating news for many businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

"Many of these businesses have spent considerable time and money to put in place COVID-safe measures but have found themselves unable to operate in any capacity for months.

"While the furlough scheme remains in place for the time being, helping retain jobs, more support will be needed for those still unable to open as other overhead costs remain"

He added: "Action needs to be taken to prevent closures of pubs, restaurants, cafes and music venues among others, that add so much to our region in terms of culture, economic benefit and jobs.

"Dramatic improvements to the test and trace system would help get businesses open again along with a swift roll-out of the vaccine.

We can all help by following restrictions carefully over the next few weeks and keeping safe over the festive period.

"If we can get Lancashire's numbers as low as possible it will help us move to out of Tier 3 and get our businesses back open as quickly as possible."

Paul Foster, Development Manager with the Blackpool-headquartered Federation of Small Businesses, said: "For many businesses December is now a write-off at a time of year where they would usually make their greatest profits.

"We hope that businesses will be able to recover in 2021 but many will be wondering if they will be viable amid mounting debt levels as they have struggled to pay overheads.

"Government support since the Autumn has been more selective and inadequate in terms of its ability to help small businesses keep their heads above water. Company Directors and those new to business in the last year or so have for the main part been omitted from the support since March.

"These are the entrepreneurs we will be looking to take us back into growth in the future yet they are the ones most saddled with debt and exempt from the support, This must change in 2021.”

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