Small businesses can’t survive an extended lockdown

Any extension beyond 2 December would be a bitter blow to struggling firms.

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Topics Politics UK

It is obvious that lockdowns have resulted in serious damage to the economy. Yet it remains far from clear whether the UK will exit lockdown on 2 December as originally planned.

Now, small businesses are pleading with the government not to extend the draconian measures. Owners fear that if it does, their livelihoods and those of their staff will be destroyed.

Under current shutdown rules, all pubs, restaurants and cafes are unable to operate, except for takeaways and deliveries. ‘Non-essential’ retailers like bookshops and barbers are also forbidden from operating as normal.

This has had obvious and crippling effects on businesses’ incomes. Before the second lockdown even came in, an industry report predicted 11,000 pubs could close if Covid restrictions persisted into 2021.

Now, in a stark warning, a spokesman for hospitality businesses has claimed that ‘Much of our sector could be gone within a year’. His thoughts were echoed by a representative of the Campaign for Pubs, who said, ‘Pubs can just about survive Tier 1 [restrictions] but any other levels are catastrophic’.

Indeed, there is a danger that the government could announce the official end of lockdown, while putting vast swathes of the country under Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions. This would be similarly disastrous for the economy.

It’s not just pubs that are suffering. A spokesman for the National Hair and Beauty Federation said hairdressers ‘must be given the chance to operate and recover.’

And gyms are in trouble, too: last month, one gym owner told spiked that many were ‘facing financial ruin’.

Meanwhile, big business has fared far better, with the world’s super-rich increasing their wealth. Online retailers like Amazon have mopped up the sales of independent shops that have been forced to shut. Once again, the little man has been sacrificed.

The prospect of yet more losses will cause many sleepless nights for business owners and their staff who have been abandoned by the government. Our leaders must do the right thing come 2 December, and reopen the country.

Picture by: Getty.

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