OPINION - Evening Standard Comment: We need a clear plan for London’s recovery

·1-min read
 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

Even in normal times, the first week of January is often quiet thanks to consumer belt-tightening and health-conscious new year’s resolutions. However, Plan B restrictions have taken this to extremes.

Consequently, central London businesses, so reliant on office workers and tourists, have seen huge drops in footfall, with many venues operating at 20 to 30 per cent capacity.

This was compounded by Christmas and New Year’s Eve, which from a retail and hospitality perspective was essentially a non-event in the capital. Businesses that had bought the stock and decked the halls were suddenly faced with mass cancellations during the most important period of the year.

Our retail, leisure and hospitality sectors are now crying out for help and we are seeing fresh evidence of their struggle to survive. There has been some support from the Government but, as we report in today’s paper, the £1 billion package from the Chancellor has been dismissed as a “joke” by London restaurateurs because maximum grants are just £6,000.

Moreover, only 10 per cent has been allocated to the capital, despite our city representing as much as one-third of the industry. We need a concerted effort to get London back on its feet. In the first instance and at the very least, the Prime Minister must urgently publish updated guidance on when the Government advice will change.

Where is the exit strategy and what are the metrics for a loosening of restrictions — case numbers, hospitalisations, NHS capacity?

For the good of our businesses, individuals and the long-term health of our city, we need a clear plan to get London back as soon as safely possible.

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