Businesses are in the dark on what future coronavirus restrictions will look like and the government needs to provide them with details of what to expect after the current lockdown ends on 2 December, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has urged.
The body said businesses need scientific evidence for any continuing restrictions on specific sectors as well as an assessment on what impact continued restrictions and closures will have on communities and the economy.
The BCC called for the government to publish its plans with at least one week’s notice before restrictions are set to end, allowing firms time to prepare to re-open accordingly.
The group also wants the government to explain clearly why businesses in a number of sectors including leisure, non-essential retail and beauty have been forced to close despite taking steps at a huge cost to comply with COVID-19 safety measures.
It has submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to determine what evidence was used to inform government guidance on the current lockdown in England.
BCC director general Adam Marshall said: “Nine months into the pandemic, business communities are still crying out for timely information and a clear strategy from government so that they can survive and rebuild.”
“Business communities – whether in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – cannot take another year of rushed stop-start restrictions from governments while vaccines are rolled out,” he added.
He said broad-based workplace testing was one way of maintaining employee confidence and helping businesses remain open.
Earlier this week, the UK shadow chancellor accused the government of failing to give businesses the certainty needed to operate, saying chancellor Rishi Sunak has acted too slowly and flip-flopped on key decisions.
In a virtual keynote speech at TheCityUK conference on Tuesday, Labour’s Anneliese Dodds MP urged the chancellor to use next week’s government spending review to deliver more long-term guidance to Britain’s businesses.
Meanwhile, in an open letter to the UK’s business and communities secretaries, Kate Nicholls, UK Hospitality's chief executive, said that the biggest financial issue being faced by the hospitality businesses face is “the accumulation of rent debt since March” and urged the government to take action.
WATCH: What is the Bounce Back Loan scheme?