Furious small business owners say their non-essential stores could go bust under a third national lockdown – with one desperate pub owner revealing he has gone nearly a year with no income.
The Prime Minister this evening plunged the country into a national lockdown even more brutal than last March in a desperate bid to keep the mutant coronavirus strain at bay while vaccines are rolled out.
Under the new lockdown, all non-essential shops, hairdressers and personal care venues must close.
It is a blow to businesses in Tier 3, were non-essential shops were previously permitted to remain open.
Many hard-hit small business owners say their shops could be facing ruin under the new lockdown – especially as it will continue until at least February half-term.
Furious small business owners say their non-essential stores could go bust under a third national lockdown – with one desperate pub owner revealing he has gone nearly a year with no income (file image)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured today) will set out the ‘next steps’ in the Government’s Covid-19 response with an address to the nation tonight at 8pm, with Parliament being recalled on Wednesday
Supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations all feature on the permitted business list – as do the less-obvious dry cleaners and outdoor botanical gardens.
Salon-owner Claire Miller wrote on Twitter: ‘Lockdown again… Sorry but when exactly are they gonna realise it’s not strict enough and these 3 weeks in 2 weeks out isn’t working!?
‘My business is literally gonna end up down the toilet pan if something doesn’t change AND quick. Sick to death of it all. Revolving door!’
Alysha Daniels – owner of salon and spa Infusion Wellbieng in Milton Keynes added: ‘I just want the announcement now like my anxiety cannot be dealing with this. I know it’s going to be a lockdown but how long for I need to know now so I can sort things out for my business.’
Hairdresser Ella Bulmer, based in Redcar, North Yorkshire, said: ‘This lockdown has hit different. the anxiety I’m feeling for the announcement tonight is unreal, closing my business for a third time and having no income is taking a toll.’
Gary Murphy, who runs the Ye Olde Mitre in High Barnet, north London, told MailOnline that the Government support is not enough to keep his business going.
He said: ‘For my business it is £500 a week which isn’t enough. The rent alone is £2,000 a week.
Gary Murphy (left), who runs the Ye Olde Mitre (right) in High Barnet, north London, told MailOnline that the Government support is not enough to keep his business going
‘How long is it going to be for? If it is a couple of months that will be a year with no income.’
Official figures showed that the job retention scheme (JRS) reached £46.4billion before Christmas.
The HMRC statistics show there was a sharp upturn in payouts following November’s lockdown and December’s ratcheting up of restrictions in the South East and London.
It means that another four-week closure of England’s businesses – which is already happening in Scotland – will push the figure past the landmark number.
The PM is set to make a televised statement on the ‘next steps’ in the crisis at 8pm, with Parliament being recalled on Wednesday
It is likely to reignite concern about the impact of the ongoing pandemic on the economy – and the lives of everyday Britons.
Employers can help workers through the crisis and give them a financial lifeline by offering them furlough, the TUC said.
And self-employed working parents should have automatic access to the self-employed income support scheme, otherwise they could find themselves falling into serious financial difficulty and debt.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘The health and safety of school staff, children and parents and the wider community must come first. This Government has failed to keep school staff safe in their workplaces.
How much does the furlough scheme cost?
The Treasury estimates costs of a billion pounds a month for every million workers on the furlough scheme.
The Bank of England has said it expects 5.5million people to be furloughed, suggesting a bill of approximately £5.5billion a month.
The Resolution Foundation think-tank says the monthly cost could be even higher at £6.2billion a month.
‘With many schools closed, many families will be frantically trying to find a way to balance their work and childcare commitments.
‘Without further action, many will have no choice but to cut their hours or take unpaid leave from work. This will lead to further hardship and will hit mums and single parents hardest.
‘Employers must do the right thing and furlough mums and dads who can’t work because of childcare responsibilities. And the Government should give all parents the right to work flexibly plus 10 days’ paid parental leave each year.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘We encourage both employers and employees to be as flexible as possible during this difficult time, to support colleagues with childcare responsibilities.
‘That includes providing flexible working and home-working arrangements, as well as considering requests from parents to be furloughed, which is at the employer’s discretion.’
Mr Sunak dramatically extended the furlough scheme in November, but only to the end of March.
Last month he updated it and said the huge bailout will now continue until the end of April to give businesses ‘certainty’, while firms will be able to access emergency loans until the end of March.
Workers are able to get furlough at 80 per cent of their usual wages, up to a ceiling of £2,500 a month, with employers only having to contribute national insurance and pension costs.
Grants for the self-employed will be paid at 80 per cent of average previous profits for November to January, rather than 40 per cent.
Figures released before Christmas showed that the UK economy grew by 16 per cent between July and September after coronavirus lockdown rules were eased – but GDP was still almost nine per cent below where it was at the end of 2019.
The 16 per cent increase in the third quarter of the year represents the largest quarterly expansion in the UK economy ever recorded by the Office for National Statistics since records began in 1955.
The latest ONS data reveals there was a cumulative fall in GDP in the first half of 2020 of 21.2 per cent as the national shutdown from March hammered UK PLC.
The British economy shrunk by three per cent in the first quarter between January and March as the nation felt the first effects of the pandemic before then plummeting by 18.8 per cent in the second quarter as draconian curbs hit hard.
Despite the massive bounce back in the third quarter, the ONS said that UK GDP was still 8.6 per cent below where it was before the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Government borrowing remains at record levels as the UK’s national debt continues to climb above £2trillion, with debt now at its highest level since 1962.