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Business groups urge Chancellor to do more to support firms

06 Jan 2021

Business groups have welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak's latest lockdown support package for businesses, but have urged him to do more.

The Chancellor announced a £4.6 billion package of one-off grants to support businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

However, Rain Newton-Smith, Chief Economist at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said: 'For some, demand has once again evaporated overnight, and in northern England some firms have been labouring under stop-start orders for months already.

'Therefore extending the job retention scheme to end of the second quarter would provide firms with a clear line of sight, aiding planning and investment.'

Meanwhile, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) said that the new business support package 'misses the mark'. IPSE has urged the government to work with business groups to plug the gaps in support for the self-employed.

Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE, said: 'There's no doubt the new lockdown measures will have a severe impact on the already struggling self-employed sector. The school closure is also likely to hit self-employed parents particularly hard, cutting into their working week.

'The new support package, aimed at businesses with premises, misses the mark and will do little to mitigate the financial damage to the self-employed sector. After almost a year, there are still drastic gaps in the support available to the self-employed, with over 1.5 million sole directors, newly self-employed people and others still excluded.'

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