CBI calls for lockdown support

The CBI in the North West is calling for improved support for businesses and workers affected by self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

The business organisation is also calling for clear messages on what people can and cannot do when new measures are introduced.

The call came as tighter lockdown measures were introduced in Preston. The city has been included in the additional restrictions that apply to other parts of east Lancashire, Greater Manchester and west Yorkshire after a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Damian Waters, CBI North West director, said: “When new data comes to light the Government is right to act fast to protect public health.

“There will likely be more local restrictions in parts of the country in the months ahead so it’s imperative to improve implementation.

“That means ensuring any new measures get to the right people at the right time, and that the message is crystal clear on what people can and cannot do.

“More broadly, any new measures may impact on businesses directly and indirectly, so we must get the building blocks in place to protect jobs, as well as lives.

“We need to see improved support for businesses and people where staff absence is due to self-isolating and ensure any additional support is made easily accessible to local firms.

“Businesses can also have an important role to play in communicating these messages to their workforces, often being the first port-of-call for information from employees on what the implications may be for their company.”

Angie Ridgwell, chief executive of Lancashire County Council and chair of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, which is leading the response to coronavirus in the county, said: “We understand that these restrictions are going to be disruptive to many people but it is a necessary step to protect the health of everyone in Preston and beyond.

“It is vitally important that everyone plays their part by adhering to these new restrictions. I want to be very clear – if we do not see a reduction in infections it is highly likely that more stringent measures will be introduced.”