// Calls for more support for retailers and other businesses affected by local lockdowns
// Labour’s Anneliese Dodds spoke to business owners from east Lancashire, which has seen restrictions re-imposed
Extra support is needed in areas of the country affected by additional lockdown restrictions, business leaders from Lancashire have told the shadow chancellor.
Labour’s Anneliese Dodds held a Zoom meeting on Tuesday with shop and business owners and workers from east Lancashire, where some areas have seen extra measures brought in due to a rise in coronavirus cases.
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive Miranda Barker said: “We need support for those businesses who have got themselves ready to reopen, they have restocked – there are an awful lot of food businesses – and they are literally now having to throw things away because they are not getting the take-up.
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“We really need to try and campaign for some extra support for areas that are on this semi-lockdown now because they have got costs they just weren’t able to prepare for.”
In east Lancashire, extra restrictions were imposed in Pendle, which has the highest infection rate in England at the moment, as well as Burnley, Rossendale and Hyndburn to stop residents meeting other people in their homes, gardens or other indoor venues.
Dodds called on the government to have a “flexible approach” to supporting retailers and other businesses affected by localised restrictions.
“Although we were told all this was focused on families associating with each other, or different friendship groups, it is having an impact on those businesses because lots of people would have decided to go and socialise together,” she said.
“We need to have that support there and ultimately businesses shouldn’t be penalised for doing the right thing.”
Dodds also said Labour wanted any surplus from government grants to be put into a “high street fightback fund” to help businesses unable to fully reopen.
Speaking after the meeting, she said: “We think we need to have a more flexible approach from government around this, both in the context of those localised lockdowns but also potentially, if we do see a situation where there’s a more general additional wave of the disease across the country.
“The government seems to be taking a really ad hoc short-term approach.”
with PA Wires