Business leaders speak about the effects of the Autumn Lockdown on the retail sector and overall economic outlook

Published by Rupert Douglas on November 14th 2020, 1:01pm

With the Autumn lockdown approaching the end of its second week there is still no guarantee from the government that the current restrictions on business will end on the 2nd December across England. Business leaders from across the country give their assessments on the issues facing the economic outlook of the UK.

Jeremy Piercy of Shared Earth shares the concerns of many business owners when he says that ‘our main concern at the moment is that Christmas sales are so key to our survival. Losing November sales is difficult but losing December sales as well would be a disaster’ for the retail industry.

Echoing Piercy, Vincent Page of Antiques on High believes ‘just as many companies were slowly getting things back together following the lockdown in March we are now faced with the present lockdown, but with substantially less Government funding in place, means that some companies may struggle to pay their rent’ and questions if the Government feel as though they have done enough to save companies that may find it financial impossible to continue through these difficult trading conditions.

Some organisations though have weathered the difficult trading conditions by having a wider client base and looking further afield for opportunities. Mark Barnes of Precision Devices said, ‘fortunately our business focus has always been on export further afield than just the UK and EU, so we have been trading through our international links.’ Barnes had previously put an article in The Parliamentary Review touching on his confidence that the company would be well placed to thrive ‘optimistic that the world economy offers outstanding opportunities for high-end British manufactured products in markets beyond the European Union’.

Stuart Harris of Stuart Harris Associates says that now is not the ‘time to play the blame game’ and believes the government may have made mistakes in its financial handling of the crisis but wants a long term view to be taken for the benefit of all. Harris believes now is the time to look at simplifying the tax code to increase receipts and pay for the borrowing that has kept the country going. With the report into removing some of the exemptions from Capital Gains Tax, this is something the government could be looking at but as Harris says the ‘big problem with the suggestion to simplify the UK tax system is the politics!’ 


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