‘Don’t let Covid steal Christmas from children’: Toy industry bosses urge Boris Johnson to add toy shops to the essential retail list as festive season approaches
- Toy bosses have urged Prime Minister to add toys to the essential retail list
- Called on Boris Johnson to ‘assist the UK toy industry’ and support families
- Comes after retailers in England were forced to shut their doors this month
The Prime Minister is being urged to add toys to the essential retail list in an effort to ensure toy shops can operate once again as the second national lockdown comes to an end next month.
Toy industry chiefs have called on Boris Johnson to ‘assist the UK toy industry’ and support families who ‘need our toys for essential child development and pure joy this Christmas.’
In a letter the chairmen of the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) and chairman of the Toy Retailers Association (TRA) also told Mr Johnson that retailers will not be able to cope with demand during the festive period if current restrictions stay in place.
It comes after toy retailers in England were forced to shut their doors after the nation entered a second national lockdown amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
Toy chiefs have urged the Prime Minister to add toys to the essential retail list in an effort to ‘assist the UK toy industry’ and support families who ‘need our toys for essential child development and pure joy this Christmas’. (Stock image)
In their letter Andrew Laughton and Alan Simpson wrote: ‘We need you to ensure that Christmas isn’t cancelled in a year when we all need some joy to lift the country’s spirits, to assist the UK toy industry and, most importantly, to support families that need our toys for essential child development and pure joy this Christmas.
‘Toys are essential tools of play to contribute to child development and learning and have been essential to families this year during lockdown, keeping children entertained, keeping them active, maintaining positive mental health and underpinning the morale of families across the country.
‘Now we enter the season when toys are more essential than ever. Christmas is synonymous with toys under the tree.
‘Toys and games bring joy and entertainment to children and they are important in creating moments that bond and unify families during the festive period.’
The toy industry is worth £3.2 billion to the UK economy with 50 per cent of toys sold in the last quarter of the year, according to the trade groups.
The industry bosses told the Prime Minister that retailers ‘will not be able to cope with demand as we get closer to Christmas’ if current restrictions stay in place.
‘This period is crucial to the survival of toy companies across the UK and without November and December trade, many companies will not survive,’ they added.
The chairman of the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA) and chairman of the Toy Retailers Association (TRA) also told Mr Johnson that retailers will not be able to cope with demand during if current restrictions stay in place
The trade bodies warned the current closures are impacting on around £400 million of trade typically seen in November and could hit £820 million worth of business next month.
Last week, the boss of UK’s largest toy chain, The Entertainer, also warned some children’s presents will not arrive in time for Christmas due to a shortage of couriers if shops are kept shut through December.
The calls come as Boris Johnson faces a growing Tory revolt over his coronavirus rules as senior Conservative backbenchers today demanded he set out a strategy to avoid a cycle of national lockdowns.
Tory MPs in the so-called Covid Recovery Group (CRG) cautiously welcomed the prospect of the Government loosening restrictions over the Christmas period but warned that ‘freedom cannot just be for Christmas’.
Former Brexit minister Steve Baker, one of the leaders of the CRG, tweeted: ‘Freedom cannot just be for Christmas. Lockdowns and restrictions cause immense economic, social and non-Covid health damage.
‘We must start talking about those so that we know the restrictions we’re being told to live under are not causing more harm than good to our citizens.’
He added: ‘We must also develop a much better strategy for living with this virus that doesn’t require us being repeatedly locked up and freed by the government.’
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