London businesses hit hard by the Covid pandemic face a ‘cliff edge’ moment after Boris Johnson postponed so-called Freedom Day by a month.
Business leaders urge the government to provide financial support and warn that delaying the lifting of all restrictions could be devastating.
“We call it a cliff edge and we’ve been warning about it for some time,” said Ros Morgan of the Heart of London Business Alliance.
“Our request to the government is that it must review this. Support has always been welcome, but the reality is that it has always been disproportionate for London.
“London is so much more expensive to run a business and yet the support that businesses here have received doesn’t really reflect that.
“London businesses have therefore been hit hard. To remove that support at this point would be devastating. Our request is that as long as these delays keep happening, we have to see the support happening alongside that, ”she added.
Business rate relief is among the measures being removed as the country slowly emerges from lockdown.
But London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the cut in financial aid could now push many businesses to the limit.
“The government’s decision to delay reopening for another four weeks is a perfect storm affecting those businesses that were hoping we would reopen on June 21 – this was delayed for four weeks so they won’t get the normal customers they would expect. – but at the same time, the business support they receive is reduced, ”Khan said.
“We are telling the government to extend the trade tariff relief for an additional four weeks.
“Please extend the moratorium on business evictions and also reduce the contribution you ask businesses to pay for the leave scheme, because if you don’t my concern is that some of these businesses might not be in. able to fully reopen on July 19 and may close permanently, ”Khan added.
the Delta variant, which is from India, has spread rapidly to the UK, accounting for more than 90% of new cases and causing the roadmap to ease the lockdown to be delayed.