With lockdown restrictions to be lifted soon for shops, the government should focus on reopening other areas of the economy to support businesses, industry stakeholders have claimed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that all non-essential shops are able to reopen in England from 15 June.
As well as taking action to bring the high street back to life, the government is looking to see what help can be made available for larger businesses.
Talks are ongoing between the department for business, energy and industrial strategy and Britain’s largest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover for a loan in excess of £1bn.
But there are other business segments that need more support, industry onlookers suggest.
David Bradley-Ward, chief executive of asset-backed lender Ablrate, wants the government to help businesses that won’t be able to open to full capacity, such as restaurants and pubs, and to support and encourage innovation.
He urged the government to raise enterprise investment scheme (EIS) income tax relief to 80 per cent of the investment amount from the current 30 per cent, to free up investment money and help get the economy moving again.
“If we don’t open the economy soon there will be a lot of trouble,” he said.
“The chancellor has previously said we could end up entering into the worst recession in living memory and the government has a responsibility to try to prevent that. The government has to consider measures, such as raising EIS.
“At the point of recession, you want efficiency and innovation and if the government is encouraging innovation it would give a massive boost to the economy.”
Tal Orly, chief executive of property development finance provider Cogress, said the government needs to focus on supporting businesses in the long-term, working with businesses on viable business plans.
“The government needs to prevent a widespread impact, from mortgages to rates for businesses, and consider a stamp duty ease,” he said.
“It needs to encourage the market to return to normal activity as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Daniel Rajkumar, founder and managing director of P2P business lender Rebuildingsociety, highlighted the importance of opening up the economy safely.
“It’s a difficult balance between supporting and protecting businesses whilst not putting too much pressure on the NHS and I think the government has succeeded in this,” he said.
“We just need to open up the economy more.
“It’s a case of having society work out how to protect people at risk whilst allowing people not at risk to have more freedom to make their own decisions.”