Posted: 23.02.21 at 12:40 by James Mayer, Local Democracy Reporter
Business bosses have said jobs still hang “by a thread” in Lincolnshire despite the Prime Minister’s lockdown easing roadmap, but can see “some light at the end of a very dark tunnel”.
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, will announce details of his spring budget next week (March 3), where he is predicted to extend the furlough scheme until at least May.
In December, research suggested that 218 businesses in Lincoln were at immediate risk of failing as they run out of cash.
Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Even with the new roadmap, the future of thousands of firms and millions of jobs still hangs by a thread as many hard-hit businesses simply don’t have the cash reserves needed to hold out several more months before they are allowed to reopen."
He added: “We will continue to lobby to see that all the key support schemes for business should be extended – through the summer and wherever possible throughout 2021 – to ensure that as many viable organisations as possible can make it to the end of this pandemic and on the road to recovery.”
Katrina Pierce, Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Lincolnshire said: “There is a wider issue here; there are many weeks to go until summer and businesses need certainty that the financial support measures like the furlough scheme, self-employed income support and business rate holidays will stay in place while the restrictions are in place and beyond while firms are powering up.
“Reopening the doors will not mean an immediate solution as there has been so much economic damage and there will need to be a recovery stage. The Chancellor must also urgently address supporting those excluded from support at next week’s budget.”
She added: “We have the route map out of restrictions which had been lacking until now so I know local firms are very happy to see some light at the end of a very dark tunnel”.
Lincolnshire County Council also developed a £12 million grant scheme to support micro, small and medium sized businesses to recover. Details here.