Government’s re-start roadmap is just the start, says chamber

Paul Cherpeau
X The Business Desk

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The head of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce has welcomed some clarification of the ambiguities of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Sunday night address to the nation, but said the Government’s plans to emerge from lockdown are just the start.

Chamber chief executive Paul Cherpeau said: “Liverpool Chamber of Commerce welcomes the Government’s production of its roadmap to recovery as merely the start of the economic battle against COVID-19 which must now precipitate a period of clarity and unambiguous guidance and leadership to enable businesses to safely restart and recover.

“Following the Prime Minister’s Sunday evening address to the nation, there was considerable confusion and uncertainty about the specific obligations for businesses and their people.

“It is helpful to see some of this ambiguity addressed, but further dialogue with businesses is essential to ensure the inevitable gaps can be addressed.”

He said businesses will be required to make careful and difficult judgements about how and when they scale up operations.

“The guidance produced does not supersede business’s legal obligations relating to health and safety and employment. Enabling the maximum support is available to help them is crucial to a successful and safe re-start.”

And he said that, while there remains considerable challenges, several Liverpool companies have either maintained or recommenced safe operations amidst the outbreak.

“These companies have undertaken substantial risk assessments, adjustments to work patterns and processes and adapted to the prevailing environment to ensure safety and security for employees. It can be done, but not without significant planning and careful implementation.

“Businesses have a responsibility to maximise the safety of staff, but for many it will take time to make the necessary adjustments.

“It is crucial that the Government maintains the existing support mechanisms to enable business restart to take place at the appropriate speed.”

Mr Cherpeau said the Liverpool Chamber strongly advocates an economic re-start that is phased and respects the practicalities of business operations, stimulating recovery and mitigating the clear and obvious risks which exist amid the current operational environment.

“The imperatives for many businesses will remain the generation and management of cash in the business, a tapering rather than cessation of existing support mechanisms, the mitigation of threats to employee health and a swift, flexible and dynamic approach to business support as required for scale up or lockdown

“Amidst this unprecedented moment in our modern history, the economic re-start requires ongoing partnership between government, businesses and their employees.”