The chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has written to the Prime Minister warning of “mass redundancies” unless the Government improves Covid-19 support for business.

Rob Johnston is a co-signatory of a letter from chief executives of chambers across the UK, also signed by the director general and president of the British Chambers of Commerce.

The letter sets out five tests to limit the impact of coronavirus restrictions, criticises the Government’s “short-term decision making” and calls for improvements to NHS Test and Trace.

It says: “With increasing tiered restrictions, the situation for business grows graver by the day. While the announcement of an enhanced Job Support Scheme will assist some firms, chamber members tell us it will not be enough to stave off mass redundancies and business failures.”

The letter was delivered to Boris Johnson on Saturday, the day Barrow entered Tier-2 Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Johnston said: “We’re particularly concerned about Tier-2 areas like Barrow where firms are able to open but where demand has been hit dramatically due to Government restrictions.

“New restrictions must go hand-in-hand with commensurate financial support for wages and day-to-day running costs.”

The chambers’ letter questions the Government’s Covid-response strategy, asking: "Are the restrictions evidence-based and targeted effectively?; Are they clear and do businesses have time to prepare?; Is support for businesses commensurate with the impact on them?; Will the time that the restrictions are in place be used to significantly improve the test, trace and isolate system? and Is there a clear process for increasing and decreasing restrictions?"

Mr Johnston added: “It’s vital that the Government protects the wealth creators. Cumbria is particularly exposed because we have a high proportion of small and medium-sized businesses. While large businesses can contract and bounce back later, many of these smaller businesses are running out of cash and could go under. Once they’re gone, they’re lost for good.”