THE government must not put more burdens on business if the economy is to recover from the Covid crisis, Dorset bosses have been told.

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce, said she was lobbying for lower costs and less red tape to get the economy going again.

Her comments to business partners of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry came shortly before the government announced its latest four-week national lockdown.

Baroness McGregor-Smith told an online event that the coronavirus recession was “the worst financial crisis I’ve seen”, adding: “It makes the 2007-08 financial crisis look like a bit of a warm-up act for what we’re seeing this time around.”

She added: “We are going to come out of this. The question is when do we come out of it and when will they lift some restrictions, which will clearly depend on the data around the number of those infected with Covid?

“I still think there’s a lot the government can still do. I think they can do a lot more in terms of giving us more flexibility around less regulatory pressure in certain industries and fewer things to do.

“I think they can really try and support us with accelerated infrastructure projects and actually get things moving with the economy in certain areas.

“I think they need to work much closer with businesses and business communities in every part of the country so they need to understand local impacts – and they clearly still don’t. There are far too many national policies, as opposed to more regional or local policies, being implemented centrally and I think they need to devolve a huge amount more.

“Where I’m fighting is to say don’t put any more burdens on business. We do not need any more costs, what we need is alleviation. You cannot, during a pandemic, keep putting the cost back on business in all these areas. And all of you who will be running businesses or involved in entrepreneurial businesses as well will know the challenges of cash flow are just too significant for too many of our businesses.”

She thanked Dorset Chamber, one of the British Chambers of Commerce’s affiliates around the country, for providing insights and evidence that could be passed on to government.