The Federation of British Business Companies warned today, Monday, that re-imposing lockdown measures in England could plunge the country back into recession and represent a "truly devastating" threat to the British economy, which has inflicted great damage on "Covid-19".


The Federation's General Director, Carolyn Fairbairn, who is preparing to leave her post, delivered a disturbing speech at the opening of the annual conference of the Confederation of Business held online this year, a few days before the start of the implementation of a new lockdown in the country, Thursday, aimed at stopping the rapid spread of the virus.


Fairbairn expressed her regret at the absence of conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose relations are tense with the business world, from the conference, after he apologized for not participating at the last minute, because he was scheduled to speak during the day in front of Parliament. In the end, he was represented by the minister in charge of communication with the companies, Alok Sharma.


Her successor should make rebuilding trust with the government a priority, after years of tensions over Britain's exit from the European Union (Brexit).


During the conference, opposition Labor Party leader Keir Starmer harshly criticized the government's handling of the health crisis, and said he stood by the companies. "They did not learn ... they did not listen ... and they did not lead ... The result is tragic, but it is very expected," Starmer said, accusing the government of being too late to take measures to contain the virus.


The new restrictions, which include closing non-essential bars, restaurants and shops at least until early December, come at the worst of times. Especially for distribution companies, as the last two months of the year are traditionally the busiest, with discounts on "Black Friday" and then Christmas.


The British Retailers Union spoke of the "pre-Christmas nightmare". Its general manager, Helen Dickinson, said: "This will cause untold damage to shops in city centers, to jobs, and to delay the recovery of the economy, with little effect on the transmission of the virus."


In the face of this new shock to the economy, the government decided immediately to partially extend the unemployment compensation mechanism for a period of one month, until the end of November, under which the state pays the majority of the wages of workers without work.


The epidemic will not be the only topic on the list of discussions at the conference of business owners who are concerned about the slowdown in negotiations between London and Brussels regarding the relationship after "Brexit".


Fairbairn again called for the speedy conclusion of an agreement with the European Union. "We need it badly," she said, in order to avoid a double shock to the economy.


Whatever it is, the British economy is likely to experience a difficult end this year, with a drop in economic activity in November due to containment measures, which would lead to a setback in the last quarter, after a rebound in the summer.


Deutsche Bank economists point out that "the consequences for growth will be significant", expecting a drop in GDP by between 6 and 10 percent in November and a contraction in the fourth quarter.