“Businesses know that economic recovery and beating the virus are not in opposition, and because of that they can understand the need for a new lockdown, even if it is not welcome. But this decision has underlined the need for speed in the vaccine programme. That’s priority number one. We have already seen how agency staff in hospitals and care homes fell through the cracks when it came to the provision of PPE. The same must not be allowed to happen for the vaccine. Frontline workers need to be protected, no matter what type of contract they’re on.
“Businesses go into this lockdown with cashflows under extreme pressure. Financial support such as the furlough scheme has helped a lot. But more opportunities to protect jobs must be seized. Support on VAT, cutting taxes like employers National Insurance contributions and reducing business rates will help struggling businesses retain staff. And the government must focus support not just on the businesses which need to close, but also the businesses that supply them who will be badly impacted. That includes recruiters who have been instrumental in helping businesses back on their feet quickly after the last lockdown.”