THE CBI is calling for a ‘no surprises’ approach to local lockdowns if new restrictions are needed in Yorkshire.

The organisation, which speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses across the UK, is putting forward a six-point action plan for if and when new restrictions are needed.

Its suggestions, to build confidence for businesses, local authorities, and communities, come in the wake of tighter restrictions across parts of the north, including the whole of Bradford District.

Its plan includes increasing the visibility and awareness of the data trigger points used in decision-making, as well as ensuring decisions are communicated at the right time, to the right people, and timing announcements during working hours as far as possible.

“Greater understanding and transparency of which data and metrics will be used consistently (including the thresholds) to both impose and lift restrictions, would help local communities and businesses prepare,” it says.

The CBI’s six point plan calls for clarity of message about what people can and can’t do, as well as what the changes mean for business, transport operators, schools and others. It wants clear communication about who is in charge of the lockdown. It also wants to see test and trace efforts stepped up and the establishment of a framework for business support.

Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire and Humber Regional Director, said: “Businesses know that if infection rates spike in an area then new local lockdowns may well be required to protect public health. That’s why they’re working so hard to follow the Government guidance, keeping their workplaces, offices, pubs and shops, safe and COVID-secure for staff and customers.

“Local lockdowns are a crucial piece of the puzzle in how we manage the risk of infection and reopening the economy safely, so we must get good at them.

“The Government rightly needs to act fast on new information, so there will be limited notice, but we must aim for a ‘no surprises’ approach as far as possible. It would be fair to say that the local business reaction has been mixed at best on how they have gone so far.

“Not all restrictions are one-size-fits-all, as we have seen from the full lockdown in Leicester and the household-based restrictions in West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and elsewhere.

“Each will have their own impact on businesses directly and indirectly, so we must get the building blocks in place to protect jobs, as well as lives.

“We are learning all the time, and now have more tools in our armoury to combat infection risks. But at the same time business resilience is lower than it has ever been, with cash and stockpiles run down. So we must get this right.”