The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to take a fresh look at the support it provides for businesses now under Tier 4 restrictions.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new Tier 4 restrictions for London, the South East and East of England amid a surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and alarm about a new strain of COVID-19 spreading rapidly.
Under Tier 4 restrictions, non-essential shops, hairdressers and leisure and entertainment venues must close, with a new 'stay at home' message introduced.
The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has said that these restrictions are likely to last for months until the vaccine has been rolled out across the UK. The measures will be reviewed on 30 December as part of a wider review of tier restrictions.
Commenting on the restrictions, Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director at the CBI, said: 'Wherever infections rise, it's right that the government takes the necessary steps to protect public health. But news that large swathes of the South East will come under new Tier 4 restrictions will be a real kick in the teeth for many businesses already struggling badly.
'While much of the impact of Tier 4 will be on people's family lives, many retailers were counting on clawing back some lost ground after a really hard year. Support is there when business premises are forced to close and must reach firms swiftly, along with the recently extended loan and furlough support.'