Epping MP Eleanor Laing has called for the Government to provide further financial support for businesses put at risk by the new Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.

As of Saturday, Essex moved into ‘high’ Covid alert, meaning people cannot meet with anyone they do not live with indoors – including at restaurants and bars.

Essex’s Chamber of Commerce has warned the new rules may be the ‘final straw’ for some businesses.

Dame Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping, has joined all other Essex MPs in writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking them to reconsider the need for financial support for at risk businesses.

The MPs' letter says the financial review is "necessary to avoid permanent economic damage to the local and national economy".

Epping Forest Guardian:

Dame Eleanor Laing has represented Epping since 1997.

The letter states: "Businesses in our constituencies are very clear about the adverse impact of tier two restrictions, particularly in the hospitality sector.

"Many fear they may have to close for good. Pubs and restaurants were thriving again, but most now find they must carry the majority of their costs to remain open, but with only 30 to 40 per cent of the customers.”

The letter continues: "The 80 per cent Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends on October 31. There are no new grants. They are in a far worse situation than they faced in the Spring.

"Please can you review the level of financial support in place for businesses under these restrictions. This is necessary to avoid permanent economic damage to the local and national economy and this must also apply to other regions of England.”

Essex was placed in Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions after district and county council leaders called for the Government to move Essex up a tier in response to rising infection rates.

County Council leader Cllr David Finch defended the move, claiming it was the best way to protect businesses long-term.

He said: “We understand that the move to the high Covid alert level may affect people’s lives and businesses and we understand the very strong feelings about this. However, we have a duty of care to the people of Essex, and we firmly believe that this is the best route to minimise disruptions, to save lives - not just for those with the virus, but for other patients as well - and to protect businesses.

"Acting sooner rather than later to curb the spread of Covid-19 is the right thing to do."

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