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Rishi Sunak urged to help amid delay in lifting Covid restrictions

Rishi Sunak will be presented with more demands to help businesses as Boris Johnson prepares to push back the June 21 lifting of restrictions.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said the chancellor would need to delay the tapering of the furlough scheme; from July 1, businesses are due to contribute 10 per cent of staff wages in a staged withdrawal of the job protection scheme, which is set to finish at the end of September. The BCC also called for cash grants and said that “measures need to be in place until the economy is able to reopen fully”.

The four-week delay to the lifting of restrictionsProspect of four-week delay in freedom road map wrecks ‘summer of fun’ for angry businesses is expected to lead to another extension of the moratorium on commercial property evictions over unpaid rent.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said that full business rates relief, which runs until the end of this month, should be extended by three months.

The Treasury said: “We deliberately went long with our support to provide certainty to people and businesses over the summer.”

Economists will want to see if a delay to the removal of restrictions hits consumer confidence. Data this week is expected to show that unemployment fell from 4.8 per cent in the three months to March to 4.7 per cent in the quarter to April.

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