Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP, Dr Dan Poulter, has written to the Chancellor asking the Treasury to do more to help small businesses and those who may be slipping through the cracks of Government support.
Dr Poulter has been contacted by a number of businesses, many of whom welcome the measures already put in place by the Treasury, but undoubtedly there are still some who are left behind or falling through the net. The likelihood of social distancing measures lasting for many months, or even a year, is likely to put considerable strain on pubs, restaurants and the hospitality industry.
Dr Poulter has been working closely with Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and engaging with key business sectors and representatives across Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (CSNI) constituency. Whilst many have impressively risen to the challenge of diversifying their business to adapt and evolve, nonetheless some continue to have concerns about their future survival without further support from the Government.
Although businesses are supportive of the measures introduced by the Treasury, concerns have been raised with Dr Poulter in relation to the ease of businesses applying to their banks for the Government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Many are reporting problems with the application process and increased interest rates.
Senior Shareholders (Directors) who remunerate through dividends, as opposed to PAYE, are also really struggling to make ends meet. And a number of businesses, including micro businesses, are ineligible to claim grant aid, particularly when they do not operate from business premises.
We have a vibrant hospitality sector here in Suffolk and it is vital that this sector is properly supported. Many pubs are trying to innovate and take advantage of the opportunity to convert to takeaway business, but this does not generate sufficient cashflow to help safeguard their future. Small hotels which have a rateable value in excess of £51,000 are falling outside of the help available and will struggle to survive without further intervention.
Dr Poulter said “I’ve been working very closely with colleagues at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and with a number of businesses across Central Suffolk and North Ipswich. It’s clear to me that they broadly welcome the measures introduced by the Chancellor to support our economy, but in some cases, there still remains a lengthy gap for when businesses apply for the support and when they physically receive it.”
“According to a recent survey conducted by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, some 6 in 10 businesses are reporting that they have less than 3 months remaining of cash in reserve. We must do more to support our business sector here in Suffolk and that is why I have written to the Chancellor to raise these concerns.”
“Undoubtedly there is a balance to be had between saving lives and saving the economy, but cash is king and cash is what these businesses are desperately crying out for. I am hopeful that more can be done to help our local businesses here in Suffolk.”
John Dugmore, Chief Executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said “Business leadership and feedback is absolutely vital to the success of Government schemes, reflecting both what is working and what, sadly, is not. The Suffolk Chamber has raised our members’ concerns with out local MPs and Ministers and we are grateful that Dan is writing to the Chancellor to reinforce where additional support is needed.”
“Many businesses have only a few months of cash reserves left, the time is now to ensure that businesses, large and small, are supported swiftly so we can drive forward the economy once into recovery phase.”