Government must continue to support small retail businesses over the coming months or risk a “spiral of decline” in our town and city centres according to Councillor Sam Webster, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Finance.

Non-essential shops in Nottingham and the rest of the Country are able to reopen on 15th June following weeks of inactivity due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

However, concerns exist in the retail, leisure and hospitality community that the costs of the substantial social distancing requirements and potential reluctance of shoppers to return in sufficient numbers will put huge financial pressures on many independent businesses – particularly smaller ones – threating their ability to continue to trade profitably. In addition, the numbers of redundancies would rise placing growing pressures on the jobs market and local economy.

According to Councillor Webster, retail and hospitality outlets having to close their doors “would also have a knock-on effect for surrounding businesses and the more that close, the worse the situation would get”.

The government has already provided welcome support through its small business grant scheme and business rates relief. However, further support will be required over the coming months as local businesses move into the recovery period of the pandemic crisis.

Councillor Webster, pictured, said: “Small businesses are at the heart of our city retail economy but they need continued Government support to be able to recover and thrive over the coming months of uncertainty.

The impact of lower footfall and social distancing risks a spiral of decline as the number of empty shops and outlets grows. We all want to do our best to prevent this happening but we need the Government to provide the ongoing financial support required to help keep these businesses viable in the coming months.

“On behalf of our local independent traders in Nottingham I’d urge the Government to introduce recovery grants to allow businesses to survive.”