Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, CBE, President of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“The need for the Chief Medical Officer to advise the public to ‘de-prioritise social contacts’ at tonight’s press conference will almost certainly have an enormous impact for businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector. Despite this still we heard no news of any new financial support measures coming from Government to help those businesses, and others badly affected by the current restrictions.
“With the UK recording its highest ever number of Covid cases in a single day, and this being set to rise further in the coming days and weeks, businesses now face the two-punch combination of serious issues with staff absence and plummeting consumer confidence.
“Until now the Treasury has stepped up at every stage of this crisis to help offset restrictions that limited business' ability to trade fully, which is what makes its complete absence at this crucial moment all the more baffling.
“Businesses have heard nothing from the Treasury since this new round of Covid interventions arrived over a week ago. Not even a rationale has been provided for why it believes no new support is required. They deserve better.
“Many of these firms, who have survived nearly two years of challenging trading conditions, are now seeing their vital festive income melt away in front of their eyes.
“A great number of sectors have been impacted by these restrictions already and the number of firms at risk is growing every day. The Treasury knows what can be done, we have already written with a suite of policy measures they can put in place right now to alleviate this crisis.”