Paul Faulkner

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A business chief says Lichfield and Burntwood companies need more clarity on how they will be able to resume normal trading after coronavirus.

The Government has unveiled a number of schemes designed to prevent firms from going under during the COVID-19 shutdown.

But the Mind The Gap report by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce has called for more clarity on how restrictions will be eased so companies can plan for the future.

And the group’s chief executive, Paul Faulkner, said that while public health “remains paramount” businesses needed to be able to look ahead to life beyond lockdown.

“We have all seen the impact that coronavirus is having on our country and frontline care services.

“There are few people who do not either know someone who has lost a loved one to this pandemic or are going through the heart-breaking experience themselves. 

“We are now exactly a month on since the Prime Minister introduced lockdown measures on 23rd March. We have now reached the point at which businesses need to know what happens next, once key milestones on new infections are met.

“We know how challenging this is, but we also all know that this cannot go on indefinitely.”

Paul Faulkner, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Mr Faulkner said he recognised that Government support for businesses and charities was “unprecedented”.

But he added that processes needed to be quickened up in order to avoid companies facing uncertain futures.

“The support that has been made available to help businesses and charities survive the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented.

“However, while we welcome its ambition the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce will continue to lobby the Government to fill the gaps in existing support on behalf of our members.

“At the heart of it, this crisis is a crisis of cash as many organisations attempt to wait out the lockdown period.

“Government schemes are not real for businesses and charities until they are paying out. 

“The Government needs to focus on shortening the timeframe between announcing support and that support reaching organisations and finding the simplest and most straightforward means of getting cash – be that grants, loans or other finance – where it is needed.”

Paul Faulkner, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Ross

Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.

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