Bracknell businessman Richard Knight, who ran his own advertising agency for more than 30 years and now works as a business troubleshooter, argues that the Government’s Covid-19 policy is failing the town.

I have run my own small business since 1987 taking it right through from concept to sale. I now help small businesses spot any trouble that might be bubbling under the surface and shoot it down before they become insurmountable.

The current climate has made it very difficult for businesses of all sizes, but those that were set up better are more likely to be able to ride out this pandemic without too much of an issue.

I have been telling small businesses for years that they need to have at least a six-month slush fund as one thing is for sure – every 10 years there something will come along, bite us on the bum and totally stop us in our tracks. Covid-19 has brought a new dimension.

Over the weekend, my wife and I decided to just get out of the house for a couple of hours and go into our home town – Bracknell. We have lived in Bracknell since we married 39 years ago and, in that time, there have been many changes, the biggest being the regeneration (almost a total rebuild) of the town centre.

When we were in town, we thought we would go for coffee and cake and, as we always like to support the local and independent businesses, we started queuing outside an independent coffee shop. After five minutes queueing to get in, due to Covid-19 procedures, we got bored so went to one of the chains and pretty much walked straight in. This got me thinking.

As a small business owner, if we don’t make the process simple, we will lose business. This coffee house was taking close to five minutes to get one party through the door – and they were only letting one party in at a time. That would be 12 customers an hour and over a six-hour Sunday trading period. That’s 72 people through the door.

Let’s up that to 100 and assume they were all parties of two and each party spent £15 – enough for a coffee and a piece of cake each – that would be takings for that day of £1,500.

Out of that they were going to have to pay electricity, staff wages, costs to purchase what they were selling and there were doubtless items they would have to throw away that had gone out of date. I wondered if they made any money at all.

From my work with small businesses, I sometimes wonder how many really know if they are making profit or just floating along on a wing and a prayer. I think I already know that answer.

I love my home town but I fear for it now. How many businesses will be forced to close and will blame the pandemic rather than their own inabilities to plan and prepare their business in the right way?

There are a lot of businesses which have not helped themselves and I feel for the employees of the national chains.

I don’t think we have seen the end of the misery and there will be more redundancies and businesses closing as the furlough scheme comes to the end.  It’s a crazy situation we find ourselves in.

Personally, I think we have to learn to live with Covid-19 and stop damaging the economy any further.

If our Government continues to make what so many of us see as totally irrational decisions, we will all be paying for this for the rest of our lives and have little to enjoy socially as there will be nowhere to go to anymore.

I really fear for the businesses in Bracknell, and for the future of my town as well as that of every other town and city in the country in the hands of the Government.

I, for one, am not sure I trust them to make the right decisions.

© Thames Tap No 228 (powered by

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