11/08/11

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of support to businesses in riot-hit areas, David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The riots of the past few days will have a lasting impact on businesses in many towns and cities across England. I have been particularly concerned about the future of small, family businesses, many of whom have lost not just custom but their entire livelihoods.

“The Prime Minister has shown that the government is determined to both get a grip of the situation and also help with the real problems that face businesses hit by these criminal acts.

“Many of the worst-affected businesses will struggle to cover business rates, calculate VAT, and file company accounts as they work to get back on their feet. The government’s announcement of a High Street Support Scheme is a sign of real help at a difficult time, as is the announcement that businesses can seek compensation under the Riot Damages Act with an extension to 42 days for submitting claims.

“Chambers of Commerce will be working with local authorities, banks, insurers, HMRC and others to ensure that affected companies get the maximum support available. We will also be watching to ensure that rebuilding businesses are not hit with unreasonable payment demands as they re-establish their trade over the coming weeks and months.”

On the further reputational damage to Britain’s image, Mr Frost added:

“However, we need to focus on more than the immediate aftermath of the riots. The UK’s image has suffered a significant blow this week, with knock-on impacts for our retail and tourism industries, as well as international investment in our cities and towns. We now need to show the world that Britain remains a secure and strong destination for investment and business growth.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is the national voice of local business.

The BCC sits at the heart of a powerful nationwide network of Accredited Chambers of Commerce, serving over 100,000 businesses across the UK, which employ over five million people.

Media contacts:

Liz Larvin
Tel: 020 7654 5813 / 07825746812
Email: l.larvin@britishchambers.org.uk

Lisa Morrison
Tel: 020 7654 5812 / 07717682221
Email: l.morrison@britishchambers.org.uk