The government must extend the business support measures they put in place during the Spring if the country is to avoid a Tsunami of company closures, according to the chief executive of business lobby organisation Downtown in Business.

Frank McKenna warned:

“The latest restrictions announced by the Prime Minister today will be the final nail in the coffin for many hospitality venues. However, for those who have a chance of survival, the chancellor must extend some of the initiatives that are due to end at the end of this month. Targeted furlough must now be put in place for those in the hospitality and events industry.

“In addition, there must be a recognition that many sectors will be hit by this latest crackdown and so a comprehensive review of business support measures has to be a priority now.”

“Those who are providing marketing services, professional advice, digital support, and a whole range of other products are now on the cusp of a financial downturn that they could not have anticipated when this crisis began in March.

“Most thought that they would be out of lockdown and fully operational by September at the very latest and they did their business and financial planning accordingly.

“With the ever-changing landscape that we have had to contend with, businesses are now in a situation whereby loans are being eaten into, cashflow is a challenge and repayments on borrowing is on the horizon.

“The chancellor should delay loan repayments on CBLS and Bounce Back loans and introduce a new round of access to finance initiatives for those firms that are in need of a further injection of cash to stay in business.”

Mr McKenna concluded:

“It is hard to imagine the government mismanaging the crisis any worse than it has. Nonetheless, in the early part of pandemic Rishi Sunak proved adept at coming up with innovative, flexible ideas that created a belief that he had businesses back. I hope he proves in the next 24-hours that is still the case. Without another major intervention from the Treasury, the economy will go into meltdown.”