The letter sent by Angela Rayner, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, on 11 January 2021.
Angela Rayner has written to the ‘Big 5’ business groups:
Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI
Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce
Mike Cherry, Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses
Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK
Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors
Full text of letter:
2020 was an incredibly tough year for all of us. The coronavirus pandemic has hit our country harder than almost any other, we have had the worst recession of any major economy and the impact on British businesses has been devastating. Too many good businesses have struggled, too many people have lost their jobs and the longer this crisis lasts the deeper the economic damage will be.
We should all be proud of the role British businesses have played in the national effort – adapting their workplaces to continue to operate in the most challenging circumstances, and even going above and beyond by changing production to make hand sanitiser, PPE, and providing free school meals when the government failed to feed our children.”
The government has – once again – lost control of the virus. Regrettably, restrictions are again needed to save lives and protect our NHS. But for every week that this remains the case, more damage is done to our country, our economy and British businesses, more working people lose their jobs and more businesses face bankruptcy.
This crisis is costing the UK economy more than £5 billion each week, and 23,000 people are estimated to be losing their jobs per week, which makes it absolutely critical that the vaccine is rolled out swiftly and safely. Delays will cost our economy billions of pounds, and see tens of thousands more workers lose their jobs.
That is why the Labour Party and trade union movement has launched the #LetsVaccinateBritain campaign, to do everything we can to support the national effort to get people vaccinated, protect our NHS and secure the economy. We encourage you to ask your members to support this campaign.
I know that you share this commitment to ensuring that the vaccine is rolled out as quickly as possible, and you will know first-hand how damaging delays will be to our economy and to businesses.
We all have a role to play, and Britain’s businesses can support this national effort by ensuring that all workers are given paid time off to attend their vaccination appointments and escort vulnerable relatives to appointments, workers are supported in signing up as NHS volunteers to support the vaccine roll-out and businesses use their platforms to promote the importance of the vaccine and combat dangerous anti-vax misinformation.
The sooner the vaccine is rolled out, the sooner our economy and our businesses can begin to recover and every effort can make a difference.
The Labour Party looks forward to working with British businesses to vaccinate Britain and rebuild our country and our communities in the months and years ahead.