Lockdown: Business leaders in Cambridgeshire urge Government to restart economy

Business leaders urge restart of the economy amid plans to end lockdown. Credit: PA WIRE

Business leaders urge restart of the economy amid plans to end lockdown. Credit: PA WIRE - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Business leaders have set out plans to restart the economy and reopen schools as the Government considers plans to lift lockdown.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has published an open letter to the Prime Minister, calling for a phased approach to get out of lockdown to begin “immediately”.

The letter, signed by BCC president Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, says “now is the time to be bold”.

It is accompanied by detailed policy proposals for safely reopening the economy, comprising steps to:

• Safely reopen public spaces and restore services - including schools and public transport

• Safely reopen workplaces and commercial spaces

• Minimise job losses and business failures

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• Rebuild supply chains and customer bases

• Put the UK economy on a high-growth, high-wage and low unemployment trajectory as soon as possible.

It states: “The fight against the virus must remain the top priority, but the planning and communication of a carefully-phased approach to lifting lockdown must begin immediately if we are to harness the public health and economic benefits, both now and in the future.”

The letter welcomes the “speed and scale” of existing support schemes and indicates they will need to “continue to evolve to support a phased restart of the economy, enabling businesses to survive through this crisis and thrive in the future”.

“The Government should not shy away from sustaining high levels of public spending in order to restart and renew our communities and the economy in the short and medium-term, while not tying the hands of future generations,” it adds.

The BCC detail three phases as restart, rebuild and renew.

The letter concludes: “We commit to working with you and your colleagues across Government on exploring these phases in detail as we plan our path forward.

“We owe nothing less to our businesses, and the communities and people they support, who have been battered by this storm.”

Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce is one of the 53 chambers across the UK and has 3,800 members.

The BCC lobbies on behalf of more than 104,000 businesses representing their interests on a national and international level.