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10:31 AM 20th March 2020

Business Responds To The Chancellors Announcement For Support For Jobs

Business organisations have responded to the Chancellor’s announcement of support for jobs in response to Covid-19:

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said:

“This is a landmark package of measures for business, people and jobs. The Chancellor’s offer of substantial payroll support, fast access to cash and tax deferral will support the livelihoods of millions. Firms and employees will respond with relief and determination.

“Today marks the start of the UK’s economic fightback - an unparalleled joint effort by enterprise and government to help our country emerge from this crisis with the minimum possible damage. An important day for our country.”

Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“This was a hugely significant step forward for employers.

“Relying mainly on loans wasn’t going to be enough, as many business leaders balked at the prospect of taking on more risk. Grants to support employment will be a much more welcome approach for firms stuck between cutting costs and retaining staff, but the acid test of these policies is how fast they reach businesses.

“The perilous position of the self-employed can’t be ignored. While steps to ease the tax burden will provide relief, there are many entrepreneurial people out there who had good businesses last month, but for whom demand has now completely disappeared.

“However, the scale of the new measures can’t be downplayed, and the deferral of VAT is another substantial move. We’ll be getting the message out to directors about the new support, but we’ll also be listening to their response. We know there are still many other areas of concern, including commercial mortgages, rent, late payments and many more. The Government has closed more businesses tonight, but we know this may not be the end of public health response, so Ministers must be ready to act as necessary."

Also, commenting on the further measures announced by the Chancellor to help businesses hit by the impact of Coronavirus, BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said:

“The Chancellor has given businesses desperately needed breathing room at this critical moment.

“The deferral of VAT payments keeps money in the pockets of businesses so that they can pay their people and suppliers, and the commitment to cover wages of those unable to work will allow firms to retain jobs if they are forced to reduce their operations.

“The government now needs to go foot-to-floor to ensure that details of the job retention scheme and loan guarantees reach firms on the ground as soon as possible. Given that this situation continues to evolve, ministers must also keep the door open to additional measures to support business cash flow.”