Small businesses in Lancashire 'will be pushed to the brink' by new restrictions

Many small business owners are surviving on little or no incomeMany small business owners are surviving on little or no income
Many small business owners are surviving on little or no income
Tighter coronavirus restrictions in Lancashire will push small businesses to the brink, a business leader warned today

Paul Foster, Federation of Small Businesses Development Manager for Lancashire and Cumbria, said more support was needed for outlets forced to close.

He said: “New restrictions on communities are going to push many small businesses to the brink in the coming weeks unless new support is made available to assist.

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“The two-thirds wage support plus small grants for forced closure will not be enough for many in the hospitality sector to survive on, while there is nothing new for those who supply them or those in affected areas who will be hit by the general economic downturn.

Some businesses will stay open - but others have to shutSome businesses will stay open - but others have to shut
Some businesses will stay open - but others have to shut

"Not least the newly self-employed and Company Directors who have now been surviving for over six months without support and in some cases with no income.

"These funding announcements must be seen as a starting point not the entirety of the support."

The Blackpool-headquartered FSB members in Lancashire and Cumbria are reporting the following concerning trends:

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· *Bounceback loans accessed earlier in the year have now been spent to prop businesses up and get them to this point.

· * Most small businesses have no cash reserves or access to new finance.

· * Many are now facing a bleak winter and are looking at overall 2020 turnover being less than 50 peer cent of what is required to cover costs.

Mr Foster added: "The tier system will only work if the funding for business support and guidance to accompany it is sufficient, crystal clear and timely.

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“New additional cash injections are required urgently to rescue jobs and businesses.”

Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: "These increased measures will be a real blow to business at such a delicate time for the economy.

"Firms have put so much time, effort and hard earned cash in making their operations Covid secure. This stop start approach cannot continue indefinitely and there is no clear exit strategy in sight which is also worrying.

"These new restrictions must now go hand in hand with the appropriate level of financial support to local businesses who are experiencing significant hardship at no fault of their own."

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Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said: "We've already seen in cases such as Liverpool City Region that when the Government and the Health Secretary work constructively with local leaders, we can reach a common understanding.

"Areas with large hospitality sectors are more vulnerable to economic fallout when placed in Tier 3 and therefore need more support, and vice versa.

"All areas have their own individual challenges which need to be accounted for. I'm optimistic the Government will not start acting without an agreement with local leaders anywhere today or in coming days - which is perhaps why the Foreign Secretary should have chosen a more diplomatic approach than the combative tone he used this morning in his comments.”

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