UK businesses ask for more emergency support if lockdown easing is delayed – business live

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UK businesses ask for more emergency support if lockdown easing is delayed – business live


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British businesses are calling on the government to extend emergency support for Covid-19 as Boris Johnson prepares to delay ending the lockdown restrictions by up to a month.

The PM is expected to announce a four-week delay in the final easing of lockdown restrictions in England, from June 21, due to the rapid increase in cases of the Delta variant first detected in India.

Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality managing director, said this morning that a one-month delay would be devastating for the sector, which has been particularly affected by the pandemic.

She told the BBC this morning that ministers must offer more support, including extending a moratorium on evictions and debt collection from commercial tenants which is to be lifted on June 30.

If legal restrictions on social contact are not lifted, sports, pubs and cinemas will still face capacity limits and nightclubs will remain closed.

A report released earlier this month showed that nearly a quarter of licensed premises in Britain remain closed, as current restrictions and space constraints make operation simply unviable.

Many of these businesses are “out of the way” after 16 months of no income, Nicholls warned. And for the rest, June 21 was the day they were able to resume trading profitably, she explains.

A delay of four weeks would cost the hotel industry around £ 3 billion in lost saless, Nicholls said. It is therefore crucial that the government provide assistance in several key areas.

One is the rent arrears. Hotel companies currently owe £ 2.5 billion in unpaid rents, accumulated since the first Covid-19 lockdowns. Nicholls says it is vital that the moratorium on applications for commercial rent arrears, which expires on July 1, be extended.

These protections prevent landlords from evicting commercial tenants or using statutory demands or liquidation petitions to collect rent arrears.

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