Birmingham’s business, political and trade union leaders today warned that new COVID-19 restrictions will have a detrimental impact on an already fragile economic recovery unless the Government provides urgent support for businesses and particularly the hospitality sector.
Birmingham has been placed in level 2 of the government’s new three-tier system, meaning that from midnight last night households can no longer mix indoors in hospitality venues.
In a joint statement to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, the city’s leaders pledged to work constructively with the Government to protect jobs but warned that many businesses in Birmingham’s £13bn hospitality sector will not survive the winter without financial support.
You can read the full statement and list of signatories here.
Tim Pile, Chair of Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP said:
This is an extremely worrying time for businesses who need more support on how they can survive and prosper over the coming months. Here at GBSLEP we are working closely with SMEs across our region listening and acting on their needs.
Our Step Forward Campaign has seen several bespoke schemes set up in response to the impact of Covid-19. They have ranged from match funding grants to digital upskilling. Our unique partnership approach brings together the private, public and academic sectors and enables us to use our local knowledge to deliver interventions that work for businesses across the GBSLEP area.
We endorse this joint statement and call on the government to further help businesses so that we can secure a viable future for our regional economy.”
Birmingham City Council leader Councillor Ian Ward said:
It has been an incredibly challenging time for the City over the last several months and without further support from Government it could well be a bleak winter. This joint statement, signed by representatives from across the business community, MPs from all political parties, Trade Unions and the Council shows the level of determination to protect peoples’ livelihoods.”
Deputy Leader of the Councillor Brigid Jones said:
This is a more challenging time than anyone could have imagined. We are an incredibly vibrant city, and prior to Covid, Birmingham’s economy was one of the strongest in the UK. Decisive action is now required, and we want to work jointly with Government to shield our communities from the immediate impacts of an economic downturn and create the platform for an economic recovery.”
Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “The business community is united in their concerns about the potential impact of these new measures and calls for clarity and action.
Today we have hospitality businesses operating under seriously reduced capacity and unpredictable demand as customers react at short notice to the developing COVID situation – all while managing too predictable overheads.
“We have many more businesses and employees aside who need to see that clarity and sense of longer term planning and action from Government on how the country will navigate through these challenging winter months.
“So much was invested in supporting businesses through the first wave of this virus through the furlough scheme, Bounce Back and Coronavirus Interruption Loans and more. We cannot let that go to waste and give up on the most impacted businesses at the time they need the support the most.”