'Buffer Zone' needed for businesses to get back on their feet

Press Releases 14 Apr 2021

Roger Pollen looks ahead to the Executive decision on restrictions

As the Executive is set to meet to discuss the future of lockdown, FSB is highlighting the overarching principles in the Pathway document that specific restrictions should only to be continued if they are ‘necessary’ and ‘proportionate‘; and that financial support should be tapered rather than halted suddenly as businesses are permitted to re-open.

Commenting, Head of FSB Northern Ireland, Roger Pollen said:

“The decisions that the Executive reach tomorrow will have significant implications for many businesses in several different sectors. It is vital that decision-making adheres to the four overarching principles set out in the ‘Pathway’ document, that restrictions are ‘evidence-based’, ‘necessary’, ‘proportionate’ and ‘sustainable’.

“If it is deemed that restrictions on some businesses must continue, then the Executive should be transparent on why that is the case and the metrics that are being used to back up their decision. If a restriction is no longer considered necessary or proportionate then it must be removed.

“As restrictions are eased for some businesses, it is important that the financial support provided by the Executive does not come to a sudden halt but is tapered. Just because the shutters are open does not mean a business is functioning normally and is in a healthy financial state; it will take a long time to build capacity again.

“Giving businesses a ‘buffer zone’ between their re-opening date and the government support coming to an end would be sensible policy that would allow the business some time to get back on their feet and give them the best chance of surviving and sustaining employment going forward.”