The British Chambers of Commerce has called for the Government to draw-up a winter COVID contingency plan to give businesses clarity.
Claire Walker, Co-Executive Director of the BCC, said: “Businesses will be encouraged by the announcements around further steps being taken to protect people from COVID and reduce its spread as we move into the winter season.
“But they will be frustrated by the inability of the Government to give them any detail around what circumstances could lead to new restrictions and what support firms could get.
“Many businesses have adapted and adjusted to keep our economy moving forward. They have been getting on with the job, despite a lack of clarity around guidance which means they are still negotiating a legal minefield.
“They desperately want to know what support they will be offered if the worst happens. We would also like to see furlough – and other support measures – put permanently on the shelf so they can be activated if there is a further lockdown. It’s a system that is proven to work in Germany and ensures business has the confidence to keep investing.
“We are not asking the government to look into a crystal ball and predict the future in minute detail. We are simply asking that they give businesses the assurance as to what will happen if the pandemic spikes again and that they will not be left behind.
“It is also vital that any changes to the traffic light system for international travel are communicated to the aviation industry as soon as possible, and well before October 1. It remains one of the few sectors unable to fully reopen and government must find additional ways to support it.
“Our latest economic forecast suggests business investment is falling, and with the new national insurance levy introduced last week, firms need to know there aren’t going to be any more surprises.
“A proper contingency plan should give businesses the confidence they need to move on from just surviving to growing, thriving and leading the way out of the Coronavirus crisis.”