This year could be the year London “bounces back” from the pandemic, small business minister Paul Scully has urged.
His comments come as the city’s businesses battle reduced levels of footfall and fear sudden restrictions amid the latest wave of Covid-19.
“All Londoners can play their part” in the capital’s recovery, he told the Evening Standard, as the health secretary continues to urge the public to get their booster jabs.
“We are in so much of a better position than New Year 12 months ago but we’re still living with Covid,” said Scully.
“That means being positive about everything that London has to offer whilst remembering we’re still on Plan B.”
Scully, also the minister for London, has suffered waning support among business owners in recent weeks, as the hospitality sector calls for more support.
Hospitality venues lost more than £10,000 on average in the week before Christmas, industry body UKHospitality found, with Christmas Day takings plunging around 60 per cent.
The government has offered such venues grants of a maximum of £6,000 in cash, as part of a wider £1bn package, which sit well below their average losses.
Tax and fuel price hikes, supply line shortages, the Peppa Pig World speech to the CBI… have all taken their toll.British Champion Awards CEO Richard Alvin
London’s hospitality scene has been hit the hardest by reduced consumer activity amid Plan B restrictions, the industry body added, particularly in the city centre – with Brits flocking to market towns for their festive get-togethers instead.
More than 81 per cent of business owners lack faith in the minister for London, with eight in 10 also admitting to losing faith in the prime minister’s ability to help them navigate the public health crisis, according to a poll by the Business Champion Awards (BCA).
“There’s clearly huge amounts of concern among the business community about how things will fare in the next 12 months,” BCA CEO Richard Alvin said last week.
“Businesses across the UK have suffered like everybody else from Covid over the past two years, from lockdowns to pingdemics – but the last few weeks seem to have been a turning point for businesspeople when it comes to Boris Johnson.