key update from John Bridge OBE DL

We are now in the second day of Tier 2 restrictions in the majority of the area we cover and Tier 3 for the businesses in Stamford.

As we go into these new restrictions we, together with our Chamber network, are calling for the government to give businesses more evidence, support and clarity to weather Coronavirus restrictions and help power our economic recovery.

Whilst we welcome the good news of the beginning of a vaccine rollout which undoubtedly provides light at the end of the tunnel – we are clear that now is not the time for government to weaken its resolve. Until it is rolled out, government must do all it can to support businesses – not just to weather restrictions, but to help power our economic recovery.

In October the Chambers of Commerce called on the UK government to meet five business tests it set out for Coronavirus restrictions in a letter to the Prime Minister in order to limit their impact on businesses and jobs and take a long-term approach to tackling the pandemic.

The Chamber’s five business tests are:

Are the restrictions evidence-based and targeted effectively?

Are the restrictions clear and do businesses have time to prepare?

Is support for businesses commensurate with the impact on them?

Will the time that the restrictions are in place be used to significantly improve the Test, Trace and Isolate system?

Is there a clear process for increasing and decreasing restrictions?

On reviewing the new restrictions in detail it is clear they do not satisfactorily meet any of the tests. The review gave the government red lights on providing firms with clarity and time to prepare, on improving the Test, Trace and Isolate system, and on whether there is a clear process for increasing and decreasing restrictions. It also gave the government an amber light on the other two tests.

You can find the details of our review here .

This follows the release of the government’s economic impact assessment of Coronavirus restrictions in the Covid-19 Winter Plan  which contained no detailed economic assessment of the new tier system and was insufficient in providing businesses with information on how restrictions have been designed and applied in their area.

We found that while the government’s forward communication to businesses ahead of changes to restrictions has improved, the multiple iterations of guidelines has left businesses without adequate time to plan accordingly, affecting their long-term survival.

We are now calling for financial support to be commensurate with restrictions, especially for those placed in the highest tiers like Stamford, and for firms in town and city centres whose trade is reliant on employees working from offices.

There is no escaping the fact that restrictions, whether national or regional, are a devastating blow to our business communities.

We continue to communicate strongly to government that it is essential to provide crystal-clear clear guidance on how to safely continue operating, give financial support commensurate with restrictions especially for those placed in the toughest tiers, and above all, significantly improving the current broken Test, Trace and Isolate system to keep businesses and the economy open.

Please do let me have your views at

Grant for Wet-led Pubs

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday 1 December an additional £1,000 Christmas grant  for ‘wet-led pubs’ in tiers 2 and 3 that will miss out on business during the busy Christmas period.

Contact the Chamber

01223 237414 •
Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce
Clifford House • 2 Station Yard • Oakington • CB24 3AH • United Kingdom