Anne Marie Waters
Tuesday November 24th 2020
The run-up to Christmas is vital to the life of some businesses. Retail sales peak at this time of year and for small firms in particular, it can make or break their year. This Christmas, naturally enough, things will be different. Amazon will continue to do well, but the massive blow already sustained by the high street is unlikely to start healing for the time being.
The government has announced a ‘tier’ system at the end of the current English lockdown – due to end on December 2nd. Some parts of the country will remain under ‘tier 3’ lockdown, which means non-essential businesses will stay closed. What areas of the country will be under what tier as not known at present, and after initiation, they will be reviewed every 14 days. This means businesses can’t make plans at a time when they desperately need to.
The hospitality industry is also at major risk. Industry organisations are warning the government that huge unemployment will result from ever-changing Covid rules. The BBC reports that UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said:
“The government is making a point of saying that these measures are needed in order to save Christmas.
“In reality, they are killing Christmas and beyond for many businesses and their customers who look forward to, and rely on, venues being open at this time of year. Sadly, for many staff, it will be a Christmas out of work.”
With ‘tier’ allocation so quick to change, it doesn’t help that what the leisure industry may or may not do remains unclear and tentative. When the current lockdown ends on December 2nd, the rules applying to pubs and restaurants will change again. For example, the previous 10 pm curfew for pubs and restaurants will not be maintained, but will be raised to 11pm. Only pubs that serve food will be permitted to sell alcohol.
Meanwhile, the Chancellor’s spending review is imminent. Rishi Sunak will outline his future plans this week. This will give us a better idea of what is to come, and we must keep a close eye on taxation and how the Chancellor intends to fill the hole left by COVID-19.
Sunak told Andrew Marr that we “would not see austerity” but there would be an “economic shock laid bare”. The impact of coronavirus needed to be “grappled with” and it will be interesting to see just who he intends will foot the bill.
In For Britain’s economic manifesto for 2021 (which can be read here) we commit to ending foreign aid and other expenditure and re-routing this funding to tax breaks for small and medium business. We also believe that China owes us and any legal avenue should be explored. We will not jump on the pro-China globalist bandwagon.
Speaking to Sky recently, Sunak explained one of his more controversial policy decisions so far – to freeze public sector pay. He said:
“You will not see austerity next week, what you will see is an increase in government spending, on day-to-day public services, quite a significant one coming on the increase we had last year.”
“When we think about public pay settlements, I think it would be entirely reasonable to think of those in the context of the wider economic climate.”
“Over this year public sector pay has done much better than private sector pay… but this has come off the back of 10 years when public sector pay has done really quite badly,”
Policies like these will put clear water between Labour and the Conservatives, and according to the BBC, the Shadow Chancellor responded by stating “Freezing the pay of firefighters, hospital porters and teaching assistants will make them worried about making ends meet ahead of Christmas – that means they’ll cut back on spending and our economy won’t recover as quickly.”
Getting people back to work post-COVID will be a highly significant political matter in the near future, but what neither party is offering is good enough; the squeeze is to be felt inside our country only, we won’t cut spending abroad – it seems we never do, no matter what. No matter what the context, British people are always at the bottom of the pile.
Anne Marie Waters
Text ‘Join’ to 60777