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CEBR warns 10pm closure order could reverse economic recovery

Published:  22 September, 2020

The planned introduction of a 10pm closure order could reverse the country’s economic recovery, the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) has warned.

The CEBR said a second national lockdown could cause widespread business collapse and unemployment, while also warning the 10pm closing order introduced elsewhere in the UK could reverse the country’s economic recovery if placed on London venues. 

It predicted new lockdown restrictions would decimate a return to health for the on-trade, and would likely dent the British economy by more than £250m a day. 

The "important thing" was to avoid a second lockdown, said Douglas McWilliams, deputy chair of the CEBR. 

"Many businesses are carrying on and making losses at present in the hope that by next year they will be getting back to normal. If they lose hope that normal activity will be resumed soon, it doesn’t make sense for them to keep going,” he said. 

Moreover, the CEBR said that new restrictions could cause GDP to sink between 3% and 5% in the final three months of the year compared with the third quarter, when the UK economy plummeted to its deepest recession on record. 

The end of the furlough scheme on 31 October could also prompt swathes of job losses as “tens of thousands of businesses are hanging on by a thread and likely to run out of cash”, added McWilliams. 

PM Boris Johnson will announce the new measures, which are expected to kick in from this Thursday (24 September), to parliament this afternoon at 12.30pm. This will be followed by an address live to the nation at 8pm. 

UK Hospitality has described the planned introduction of a 10pm closure order and compulsory table service for on-site sales across England as “another crushing blow” to the beleaguered industry. 

Health secretary Matt Hancock said on Monday that he could not say if pubs and restaurants would be open this weekend.