Chancellor takes a step forward but more work needed to save jobs, say small firms

Press Releases 5 Nov 2020

Responding to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement in the Commons this afternoon, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said:

“This latest intervention from the Chancellor is bold and much-needed. The ability to furlough staff on these terms until March will give employers an acutely-needed injection of confidence as they head into the festive period beset by disruption. Enabling firms in any location to furlough staff is a very welcome move.   

“It’s encouraging to see the extension of generous support to around two million self-employed people – who don’t enjoy many of the benefits afforded to employees, and are the employers of the future – outlined today. 

“That said, those who were planning their approaches with an eye on the job retention bonus will be disappointed by this latest update. We look forward to further clarity on this front in the near future.  

“More widely, unless significant gaps in the business support landscape are addressed there will be far fewer jobs to furlough as we head into the winter. The Chancellor has taken a step forward today, but there is still more work to do.

“Too many new business owners, sole traders, company directors and entrepreneurs without business premises are still largely excluded from support measures. That urgently needs to change, and local authorities must use discretionary funds to help these groups wherever possible.

“And while this is a multi-billion-pound package, and a further very welcome adjustment to government support, the cash grants available to small firms today still pale in comparison to those provided in the Spring. The Chancellor has extended bounce back loan application deadlines and allowed for top-ups, but too many are still struggling to make applications as lenders keep their doors closed to new customers.

“From here, we need to see gaps in the business support landscape addressed and a concerted effort made at every level of government to ensure guidance for small firms and the self-employed is accessible and crystal clear, especially as rules are being adjusted regularly.”

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