London to move into Tier 2 of COVID-19 restrictions -

Statement by Ruth Duston OBE, OC

London is by far the most populous and economically significant city in the country and the months heading towards Christmas are extremely important to annual turnovers. These revenues support our national economy and form a significant portion of total company performance, especially for sectors like retail.

With London now moving into Tier 2 restrictions, and the potential for more stricter measures in the coming months, how Government engages with the capital’s businesses is crucial. We must give businesses adequate time to prepare and for proper financial assistance to be put into place to protect jobs and livelihoods.

This means actively consulting with businesses, trade associations and Business Improvement Districts, giving them full sight of how such measures will impact them. Too often businesses have been the last to find out about new regulations coming into force which means they cannot plan and this threatens the safety of customers and employees.

The heightening of restrictions must also come with an increase in support which is easy to understand and access. I welcomed the expansion of the Job Support Scheme to businesses legally required to close due to coronavirus, but under Tier 2 many thousands of businesses in London will remain open and will be unable to access this funding.

London is a unique connected ecosystem and Christmas is supposed to be a special time – and while public health is paramount we must find a sustainable way to live with this virus. I urge the Government to have conversations with leaders on the ground who understand the city and the ways in which its businesses function to develop a targeted package of support. Only through doing this can we ensure our Capital will be on a strong enough footing to help our national economy recover and get back to growth.