Supporting Britain's businesses through COVID-19
There are 5.9 million businesses in the UK, 99% are SME and 96% employ less than 10 staff. That equates to 5.6million businesses.
These are not barons of industry – they are family owned and orientated businesses working to pay the rents and mortgages of themselves and their employees. We are already seeing huge economic disruption from the Coronavirus and it is bound to hit these companies hardest.
As a SME business owner, I am faced with the same challenges as many business owners across the country – protect the business so I can protect our team.
The Government has launched a dedicated website to give guidance and support to businesses who have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. With decisions being made daily that will impact businesses of all sizes, the website also relevant news updates to keep business owners informed on the best steps to take.
The Government has announced unprecedented aid schemes in an attempt to cushion the blow from much of the economy shutting down.
More than £330 billion of loans and guarantees to help firms to continue operating through the lockdown. Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced last week the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help businesses access funding of up to £5 million. Many UK companies will also have access to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, whereby the Government will pay 80% of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.
The support website set up by the Government brings together all of this useful information for businesses so they can find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply.
In these challenging times, as business owners we are faced with difficult decisions with regards to business operations, employees, finances and closures. The new Government website gives useful advice and answers to frequently asked questions around these issues. From redundancy pay to zero-hour contracts, information is provided to support people in different circumstances.
In these unprecedented times we must adapt and respond to the ever-changing landscape. The future for many companies is unknown and for many it is simply just a waiting game to see how the next six to twelve months pan out. I am certain that, as an innovative nation of businesses, we can thrive again.