Business chief: Third lockdown will do “irrecoverable damage” to Croydon firms

By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter

The third coronavirus lockdown will cause ‘irrecoverable damage’ to businesses in Croydon, it has been warned.

The national lockdown, set to last until at least mid-February, is the latest in a series of body blows to struggling local businesses.

It comes less than a month after London entered Tier 4 restrictions, meaning all non-essential shops had to close their doors.

Chief executive of Croydon BID (Business Improvement District), Matthew Sims, pictured, said: “A third lockdown nine months in will place severe pressure on businesses locally. It will cause irrecoverable damage to some.

“If we look at the restrictions which have been imposed since March last year, many businesses are holding on desperately in the hope that we come through this to look for that glimmer of hope.”

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday announced a new £4.6 billion lockdown fund, which includes £9,000 top-up grants for companies in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.

Mr Sims welcomed this cash, but wanted assurances that more support would be offered if the lockdown was extended.

He said: “We welcome the support for businesses, but are conscious that at the moment the lockdown is until mid-February. The financial support that has been offered is until that point in time.

“We are calling for reassurances that if the lockdown is extended the grants will be extended to keep as many businesses as we can.

“We are at that stage where there are some businesses that won’t make it, it is an awful situation to be in. We’ve got to do everything we can to support every business.”

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