Business leaders across London have joined Sadiq Khan in calling for more support from the Government to aid the safe reopening of the capital’s economy.
In a joint letter to the Prime Minister, the Mayor of London and 19 prominent business leaders welcomed the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown but called for further clarity about how businesses will be supported until they can safely reopen.
As well as calling for more support, the letter also recommends the introduction of an additional bank holiday in September to boost the economy once social distancing measures are expected to have been dropped altogether.
Sadiq Khan wrote: “It is important that lessons are learnt from previous lockdowns and we are committed to doing everything in our power to support businesses to survive this crisis and to ensure that London maintains its global pre-eminence as a centre for international business, culture and tourism. To give London’s businesses the best chance of being able to survive, recover and reopen when it’s their turn, they need ongoing support, more detail, and further reassurance now.
“For many businesses which fall into the latter timeline of the roadmap, any semblance of reopening in an economically viable way is still many months away. As the beginning of the new financial year approaches, businesses are making decisions now about the future of their businesses, including making decisions that directly impact their employees.”
Ahead of the Chancellor’s budget statement, the letter has called for an extension to the furlough scheme and business rates holiday as well as continued support for businesses while social distancing measures must remain in place.
It also calls on the Government to match-fund the £5 million investment announced by Sadiq Khan last month to attract visitors back to central London, which the letter calls “the engine room to the city”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to extend the furlough scheme and business rates holiday to at least the summer in his speech, according to various reports.
The Chancellor is also expected to extend the £20 a week uplift to Universal Credit after coming under increasing pressure from charities and politicians, including the Mayor of London.