The British Chambers of Commerce says now’s the time to learn how to open the economy and protect public health. The call to open up on 21 June could not have been sounded louder and clearer.
The growing divergence on reopening between leading scientists and business leaders has been underlined following an intervention by Baroness McGregor-Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). The former chief executive of the Mitie Group has used an oped in last Monday’s Daily Telegraph to warn government that businesses are being paralysed by uncertainty as scientists urged Boris Johnson to push back the June 21 reopening over concerns about the Indian variant.
Representing businesses employing six million people across the UK, the BCC president argued: “The successful roll-out of the vaccination programme has allowed us to unlock three stages of the roadmap out of lockdown and businesses have welcomed a firm commitment from the Government not to go back.
“But now doubts have begun to grow about whether the final reopening of the economy on June 21 will happen.”
Adding: “With such huge swathes of the population vaccinated and strong evidence of the protection that this offers even the most vulnerable against the threat of coronavirus, it would be quite astonishing if the Government changed tack now.
“At some point, we need to learn how to operate a fully open economy, while still protecting public health. That time is now. Rather than rolling back on the roadmap, the Government should be focussed on enabling firms to operate while living alongside the virus and putting the UK back on a path to recovery and renewal.”