Fife in Level4: Business leader warns support firms or they will not survive

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Businesses in the Kingdom must be supported through the new restrictions which come into effect from Boxing Day - or they will not survive.

That is the view of the head of Fife Chamber of Commerce who has been giving his reaction to the announcement that mainland Scotland will be placed into level four lockdown from Saturday.

The move comes as a result of a new variant of Covid-19 which is quickly spreading in the UK.

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Alan Mitchell, CEO,  Fife Chamber of CommerceAlan Mitchell, CEO,  Fife Chamber of Commerce
Alan Mitchell, CEO, Fife Chamber of Commerce

Alan Mitchell, chief executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce, said some businesses may see the move as an overreaction to a problem that doesn’t exist.

He said: “Many will have feared the worst as soon as the news began to emerge about the new strain of the virus, given that the Scottish Government has always acted very decisively to prevent Covid rates rising.

“They will be united in the view that this is a devastating blow to business, jobs and the economy, and they will be asking ‘can my business survive this?’”

But he warned that the new lockdown will have a terrible consequences for some firms if it lasts longer than three weeks and called for improved support.

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He continued: “Unfortunately it will push some businesses over the edge and jobs with them.

"It will be the end for many more companies and jobs if the Scottish Government extends level four restrictions one minute longer than necessary and does not make additional financial support to help businesses weather the immediate storm.

"The current level of financial support is not enough. That is equally true of the financial assistance coming from the UK Government.

“Without much improved support now, businesses will not survive the pandemic and many of those that do will be so financially weakened that it will take them a long time to recover and to create the new jobs that the people of Fife will so desperately need.

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"It will, of course, mean yet more borrowing and even greater pressure on the public finances, business and personal taxes and public services in the future, when the colossal sums borrowed have to be paid back.”

He added: “We must support businesses to the hilt now or there will not be enough of them left to give us a platform for recovery once the pandemic eases.”

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