25 July 2021
John Foster, CBI Director of Policy, said:
“This exemption list will help some of our critical sectors to keep moving but it will rapidly become significantly challenged. First, the idea of potentially thousands of businesses emailing Whitehall officials to request approval for individuals to go to work is undeliverable let alone undesirable. Second, the list is slim, missing out many businesses in the supply chains that will be crucial to the running of these key industries so will need to be significantly expanded within days.
“We welcomed the Government’s strategy to open the economy and support a new approach to living with the virus and noted they believed now was the right time to make headway on that strategy before the Winter.
“If we want the economy to stay open, we need a confident but balanced plan. We should bring forward the date from 16 August when those who have been double-jabbed no longer need to self-isolate if they test negative once contacted. We also need a test & release scheme for those who have not been double jabbed. And we should use testing and Covid safety measures to promote a culture of safety and mutuality in workplaces, shops, hospitality and public transport.
“We need mass testing – not mass self-isolation – to tackle staff shortages. That’s why the government should be applauded for moving to a test and release scheme for the food industry to help relieve staff shortages. This is exactly the kind of agile response that firms need to build confidence in the reopening. If the Daily Contact Testing scheme is deemed as a good, safe solution by the government, the next step must be to scale this up at pace. This scheme illustrates what it is to live with the virus.
“More broadly, it's critical to have the right balanced plan not just for the next few weeks but also for the next 12 months as we consider how a well vaccinated population deal with difficult evolutions of the pandemic.”