Dear Members and Business Owners,
I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge your worries and concerns at this unprecedented time.
There is a fair degree of comfort that can be taken from the Government’s action plan in combatting the challenges our businesses will face due to Covid 19.
You are probably aware that the Chancellor spoke yesterday about the package of financial measures to buffer the impact of the virus on trade in the UK.
These include £330bn in loans, £20bn in other aid, a business rates holiday, and grants for retailers and pubs. Additionally help for the airline industry is also being considered.
I was relieved to hear that the government will go further if the package proves to need topping up.
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak told a press conference yesterday it was an “economic emergency. Never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this one.” He was further quoted as saying “This is not a time for ideology and orthodoxy, this is a time to be bold, a time for courage. I want to reassure every British citizen this government will give you all the tools you need to get through this.
“That means any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able to access a government-backed loan or credit on attractive terms.
“And if demand is greater than the initial £330bn [for loans] I’m making available today, I will go further and provide as much capacity as required. I said whatever it takes, and I meant it,” he said.
At the same media briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we must do whatever it takes to support the economy”. He added: “This a time to be bold, to have courage. We will support jobs, we will support incomes, we will support businesses…We will do whatever it takes.”
Personally, I welcome Rishi Sunak’s boldness and decisiveness and it shows a good start in his tenure as the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is indeed a baptism of fire for him but the early signs are encouraging that through his actions and Boris Johnson’s government we will see our way through this huge challenge.
I have attached a government advice link here, which gives businesses essential guidance:
This guidance will assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:
- the novel coronavirus, COVID-19
- how to help prevent spread of COVID-19
- what to do if someone has symptoms of COVID-19 has been in business settings
- eligibility for sick pay
This guidance also provides details of support available to businesses including:
- statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme to help with tax
At the UKBCCI we will be playing our part in supporting our members and offering advice through this turbulent period.
I would just like to close by saying that the UKBCCI extend our prayers and best wishes to you all and that we will get through this…together.
Bajloor Rashid MBE