SOUTH Dorset MP Richard Drax said he believes Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown is too cautious for businesses ‘already clinging on to survival by their eyelashes’.

While he welcomed news that all schools would be returning on March 8, he said any further delays to businesses reopening - including the hospitality industry - could prove too much for many.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Drax said: “In my view, it’s too cautious in its approach when I have seen with my own eyes businesses that are at the end of their tether.

“I understand why the government would want to show some caution, as we can certainly not have another lockdown.

"But while a few weeks may not seem like a long time after a year of restrictions, it is a lifetime for those businesses who are hanging on by their eyelashes and whose staff face being made redundant.

"These businesses need certainty and prompt action.

“We were promised the vaccine was the way out and our vaccine rollout is well under way, which has been an extraordinary effort.

"The figures are all coming down and all the evidence shows we are winning the war against this virus.

“But we are now facing a catastrophe with millions out of work,and we are asking businesses to hang on even longer.

"Now we have the vaccine, it is time to give people back responsibility for their lives.

"We live in the UK and people should be free to make their own decisions.”

Mr Drax said he was delighted that schools would be returning in March, saying it was ‘essential’ for students to be in classrooms, and also welcomed news that care home residents would be able to nominate a relative for face-to-face visits.