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Statement from our Chairman

At the weekend, the Prime Minister made a statement to Parliament, confirming the intention for a national lockdown and lasting at least until 2nd December.

Our Chair, Terry Baxter, explains what Ipswich Central will be doing to continue to support businesses throughout the November lockdown and beyond:

Ipswich businesses have worked so hard and spent so much to make their premises safe for customers and staff. The result, compared to other locations, has been improved trading conditions combined with very low rates of infection. The announcement of a renewed lockdown is, therefore, devastating.

Between now and Thursday, the Ipswich Central team will be available to speak to as many businesses as possible in order that we can promote those who will remain open and assist those forced to shut. Where operators can introduce new methods of operation, for example online trading or click & collect options, we will help to communicate this to customers.

Throughout the lockdown, the entire team will remain available to businesses and the Street Ranger team will be helping to keep premises safe and secure. Once again, businesses are encouraged to provide us with key-holder information.

The Prime Minister announced that unlimited exercise is to be available this time which, alongside essential businesses remaining open, will mean that there will still be large numbers of people in the town centre each day. Therefore, it must continue to look appealing and we will be installing the giant Christmas tree in the Cornhill in the coming weeks.

With immediate effect, we will reintroduce the partnership grouping of the Police, the Borough Council, the County Council and other stakeholders in order to ensure that issues, as they arise, are dealt with and that detailed plans are ready for the lifting of restrictions.

Support for businesses will be vital and it is not possible to provide everything needed at the local level. Whilst we welcome the news that the full furlough scheme is being reintroduced, businesses will need more help. We will be lobbying our local MPs for them to take the strongest possible message back to government to reintroduce loans and grants that will provide a financial lifeline to businesses, particularly within the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors. But, above everything else, we will now be demanding greater certainty of policy for the future together with a clear plan for how we emerge from this lockdown.

In Ipswich, we all worked so hard to keep businesses safe and rates of infection amongst the lowest in the UK; therefore, assuming infection rates remain low, the Ipswich area must have restrictions lifted as early as possible and return to our Tier 1 status. Over the next 4-weeks, local test, trace and isolate processes need to be ramped up and strict criteria, with a pre-planned approach to any further restrictions, agreed.

There is no doubt that these are extremely difficult and worrying times. However, I want to reassure businesses that the combined forces of Ipswich Central and All About Ipswich stand ready to assist. We will emerge from this together.

Terry Baxter

Chair of Ipswich Central

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