MORE needs to be done for small businesses in the light of new legal requirements from the government in the attempt to contain the coronavirus.

Nicola Bailey, the Federation of Small Businesses Development Manager for Dorset said after the latest press conference from Boris Johnson last week: “Safety has to come first and small businesses have already spent many thousands of pounds on ensuring their premises are secure before reopening.

“This fresh round of responsibilities will take time, money and manpower away from day to day business activity at an incredibly challenging time. "Small firms absolutely want to play their role in containing the virus with the vast majority suffering a severe hit to cashflow over the past six months, they urgently need financial assistance to play that role effectively.

She said the FSB was calling for back to work vouchers for small firms, giving them the funding they need to put the right measures in place.

"With the new data collection obligations announced, these vouchers are needed all the more urgently," she added.

“We hope that, as they take on fresh powers, local authorities and Covid-secure marshals work in a spirit of cooperation and understanding.

"Small firms want to do the right thing and incentives and support mechanisms mark a more productive way forward than fines and forced closures.

“The announcement of additional cash injections for those faced with local lockdowns is hugely welcome.

"We look forward to working with both BCP Council and Dorset Council on the development of a swift, accessible claims system.

"Lessons should be learnt from areas where grants have reached firms quickly in recent months."

Ms Bailey said policymakers need to look at how they can extend such support to firms which are still unable to reopen due to national restrictions, particularly those in the night-time economy and those supplying businesses that have been forced to shut, but haven’t themselves been required to do so.

“Many have been helped by the Government’s support measures but some including company directors and the newly self-employed have not. A rescue package for those left out is urgently needed.

“This will be a challenging end to the year for small firms everywhere.

"The Treasury will need to deliver an ambitious Budget in the weeks ahead. One that eschews tax rises for businesses and the self-employed and brings down the costs of starting-up, hiring and expanding.”