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Reaction to Chancellor's comments

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced another swathe of measures to support business through the coronavirus pandemic.

Stuart Law, CEO at Assetz Capital

“We welcome this support for businesses’ wage bills and it will be particularly helpful to service industries with a high proportion of overheads made up of people. It does, however, only seem to cover workers who are not working any longer and does not protect companies who no longer have income coming in, but must do some kind of work with their staff. The detail behind this is going to be very important. 

“Also specifically notable was the absence of any firm decisions or guidance on what would be done with the self-employed, businesses without property leases and small companies whose owners only take dividends, not payroll. 

“Nonetheless, our government has clearly looked at what our European neighbours have done and provided similar levels of payroll cover to France, Spain and others. We now need them to address the gaps urgently.

“Also, many businesses have gone to zero turnover or are approaching that rapidly and yet it is usually a struggle to cope with even just modest falls in turnover. It is incredibly painful for them right now and will get worse. 

“Businesses across the country need cash immediately, beyond this new support for wages. We are really concerned that the government isn’t listening to experts that say that a replacement of the failed EFG loan scheme with the new and similar CBILS loan scheme just isn’t going to work. It will be too slow, too selective and too difficult to comply if it has similarities to EFG. We hope Monday proves these fears groundless when the scheme actually launches, and that they amend the scheme before that launch

“If businesses become truly ‘government-backed’ as these announcements start to confirm, we will see swift return of economic confidence that will mean that more of the UK’s businesses are here to restart in 12 weeks’ time. I urge the Chancellor to complete the missing components of this plan quickly.”

- March 20, 2020