FIRMS across Swindon and the South West will be disappointed by Boris Johnson's Covid roadmap, says Business West

The prime minister's roadmap means non-essential retail, personal care and indoor leisure facilities must remain closed until at least April 12. 

Restaurants, pubs and cafes can reopen with outdoor seating but indoor dining must wait until May 17 at the earliest.

And Phil Smith, managing director at Business West, believes the roadmap isn't good enough for businesses in the area.

He said: “Many of our companies will have been disappointed by this roadmap. 

“It certainly does not give many of them real hope of surviving the next few months - particularly in the hospitality sector where so many restaurants and nightclubs will not be open until June. 

“This means that support for hospitality businesses in particular will be so important for the Chancellor when he presents his budget next Wednesday. 

“We must now have a meaningful extension to the furlough scheme, perhaps with some training and re-training commitments included. 

“I have to say that I am hopeful this support will be forthcoming from the Treasury as the Prime Minister promised business: “We will not pull the rug out”. 

“That gives struggling companies some hope that they can hang on with further furlough support. We also hope that Rishi Sunak can also extend the business rates holiday for companies. 

“For business, the return to school of all children on 8 March will be a huge boost for their employees who have had the difficult burden of homeschooling. 

“What we saw today was a cautious Prime Minister who was intent on not falling into the trap of overpromising and not delivering.”