UK manufacturing reacts to third lockdown in England

Boris Johnson before announcing third lockdown 05012021
Boris Johnson before announcing third lockdown 05012021

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown in England last night that will affect businesses across the country.

The decision follows a rapid rise in infections, hospital admissions and case rates across the country, and UK hospitals are now under more pressure than they have been at any other point throughout the pandemic.

This drastic jump in cases has been attributed to the new variant of COVID-19, which our scientists have now confirmed is between 50-70% more transmissible.

From today, people in England will only be allowed to leave their homes for specific reasons, including going to work if it has to be done on site. This includes the manufacturing and construction industries.

Commenting on the announcement Stephen Phipson, chief Executive of Make UK, said: “In the face of a renewed national crisis the Prime Minister is right to take these vital measures. This fight is likely to occupy much of the coming year and, just as it has done since the start of the crisis, industry has supported the national effort and will continue to do so.

“In return, it is now critical Government revisits the business support packages. Whilst measures such as the furlough scheme are very welcome, businesses are taking on substantial debt, deferring tax bills, postponing mortgage payments and facing empty order books; this cannot continue indefinitely. In strategic sectors like aviation and automotive tonight’s announcement will further damage already fragile demand.

“The Government must now bring forward a comprehensive plan for the next six months that provides certainty, stability and confidence including targeted support for critical sectors. We must ensure that our great manufacturers can survive the coming challenges and be in a position to help drive the recovery when it comes.”

Tony Danker, CBI director-general, added: “It is absolutely essential that we all put the health of our citizens first, and businesses will continue to step up in the national interest to support the NHS, employees and customers in the weeks ahead.

“In tandem we need to acknowledge that the economic impact of these new restrictions is significant.

“There are now a number of imperatives for government to support business.

“First, ensuring firms have the cashflow to make it through. Extending existing support has helped, but a broader range of measures will need to tackle this further hit to revenues.

“Second, the government must review and plug any coverage gaps from existing support that are now further exposed, for example in supply chains.

“And third, firms must have a clear line of sight and assurance that support will be there for as long as restrictions are in place so that they can stay the course rather than act precipitously.

“Meanwhile, British business stands ready to play its full part in the vaccine roll-out, increasing mass rapid testing and acting flexibly to support employees with caring responsibilities, while being attentive to the mental health of millions of employees."

Make UK www.makeuk.org

CBI www.cbi.org.uk

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