On Friday there were some ominous noises coming from Northern Ireland`s chief medical officers and scientific advisers, as they advocated a short term “circuit breaker” lockdown if things further deteriorated in a bid to curb the increase in infections of Covid-19.
High Number Of Positive Tests
Before these warnings, statistics had shown that there had been nearly 1,000 people testing positive for the virus over a 24 hour period, a very high figure that sent shivers running through the government and its advisers.
But business groups were less than enamoured with the prospect of another lockdown, with manufacturing NI chief executive Stephen Kelly being quoted as saying that the jobs of as many as 30,000 people in the industry could already be in jeopardy.
Sustained Lockdown Will Impact Business Closures
“Clearly, the Executive will need to be supported by the UK exchequer if it’s going to tackle this problem that we have in front of us right now,” Mr Kelly said.
Retail NI chief executive Glynn Roberts is quoted on the News Letter website as saying:
“I think the Executive has a very fine line to walk in whatever decision they make.
“If we go for a sustained lockdown there will be an impact through businss closures, jobs lost and obviously increased levels of poverty and unemployment — that will have an impact on people’s health.”
“It’s not really a health versus wealth argument — there are public health implications either way.”
“We were one of several business groups who wrote to the Executive to warn them to be cautious,” Mr Roberts said.
“The Executive needs to be very careful that it doesn’t over-react to this problem, but it may well be that action is required.”
“We have certainly moved from a high street crisis to a high street emergency. I worry greatly that when furlough begins to wind down we may see many jobs lost. Leaving aside the prospect of a secnd lockdown, we could see upwards of 100,000 people on the unemployment register by Christmas”.
With Furlough Scheme Closing We Could Be Looking At Enormous Job Losses
And in the same article NI chief executive Stephen Kelly said:
“This is an unenviable and probably impossible position for the Northern Ireland Executive.
“The decisions that they take have consequences — of course from a public health position but with the furlough scheme closing [at the end of October] and with no apparent availability of other financial support, or at best limited financial support, we could be looking at enormous numbers of job losses.
“From a manufacturing perspective, the number of people who have already been made redundant, who are at risk of redundancy, or are on furlough account for a third of the manufacturing workforce. In pure number terms that’s 30,000 people.”
There is no doubt that if businesses in Northern Ireland are not given enough financial assistance the toll on the economy is going to be enormous, both with the loss of jobs and the closing of businesses. If you own or manage a business and you would like some help in guiding your business through the next few months from an established and reputable accountant get in touch with WHR Accountants on 028 3752 2909.