Responding to Boris Johnson’s speech in the Commons this afternoon, in which he outlined fresh restrictions for businesses in England, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said:
“We’ve already suffered from six months of disruption linked to this virus, and small businesses and the self-employed will be dismayed at facing another six months of restrictions.
“As we’re hit by a second phase of COVID-19, it’s paramount that the Government urgently steps forward with an ambitious second round of support measures to help firms survive. The job retention scheme is ending in six weeks and the deadline for bounce back loan applications is rapidly approaching.
“Many businesses – particularly those at the heart of our night time economy and events industries – are now seriously fearing for their futures. Having lost the summer, a lot of them would’ve been pinning their hopes to increased trade in the run-up to Christmas. Their plans are now in disarray.
“While some may’ve had cash reserves to carry them through the first lockdown, that cash will now be gone. Some of those who’ve taken on emergency finance will be finding that the initial injection of funds will not be enough to keep them afloat for another two quarters.
“While it’s encouraging to see the Government striking a balance between protecting public health and protecting the economy, this fresh round of restrictions will cause significant disruption for thousands of small firms.
“Policymakers now urgently need to map out the support measures that will follow-on from the job retention scheme, cash grants announced earlier this month and emergency finance initiatives.
“It’s important to remember that small firms have already spent thousands on putting safety measures in place but received no funding to support their efforts to do the right thing.
“Equally, a significant proportion of the small business community – not least the newly self-employed and company directors – have received no income support whatsoever. We urgently need to see a rescue package brought forward for those left out.
“We were promised a world-beating test-and-trace system, and its installation remains central to beating this virus and getting small firms firing on all cylinders again. We hope that Thursday’s app roll-out proves a success.
“We call on everyone to please support the small business community wherever and whenever possible. The UK’s 5.8 million small firms and sole traders need your support now more than ever.”
Notes to Editors
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