Sara’s Blog: Easing of lockdown restrictions and post-Budget webinar

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Finally, many businesses across England can now see a path to restart and recovery following the PMs announcement on Monday. Absolute clarity and honesty will be needed every step of the way over the coming weeks so that businesses have a fighting chance to rebuild, and in many cases to reopen.

The stop-start dynamics of the past year, which has so damaged business and communities, looks finally to be coming to an end.

Even with the PMs new roadmap, the future of thousands of firms and millions of jobs still hangs by a thread. Many hard-hit businesses simply do not have the cash reserves needed to survive the remaining weeks until they can reopen.

The Chambers, along with every business, will hold the Prime Minister to his pledge to support firms for the duration of the pandemic, as this gruelling marathon nears its end. Businesses have haemorrhaged billions of pounds over the past year and need action now.

We continue to lobby for all key support schemes for business to be extended – through the summer and wherever possible throughout 2021 – to ensure that as many viable firms as possible can make it to the finish line and recover.

It is also critical that alongside the pace of the vaccination programme, workplace testing is expanded to businesses of all sizes and continued for as long as is necessary – to help keep our companies and communities open over the months ahead.

Next Wednesday sees another crucial date for business as Chancellor, Rishi Sunak presents perhaps the most important Budget in a long while.

Whilst we accept that the Government has done much to protect business and jobs, we are hoping that the call from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) to the Government to finish the job as we move back to a fully open economy, has been heeded and acted upon.

The Chambers is hopeful that we can see an extension of the furlough scheme from the end of April to at least 21st June; a lengthening of repayment periods for VAT bills and an extension of the business rates holiday to help businesses who will be forced to close for a little while longer.

Chamber patrons, Dains Accountants, are hosting a post-Budget webinar on Thursday 4 March from 08.30am to 9.30am. Their tax expert Ann Diggins will present a concise summation of the main points of the Budget and how it will affect your business.

Any of you who have seen Ann’s presentation in previous years will know how she boils down the Budget into a fact-filled and often humorous half-hour which highlights the headlines as well as the facts that may have been intentionally buried in the detail.

If you are in business, you cannot afford to miss this event. You can register here.

If you want to talk to us about any business issues, you can call our switchboard on 01782 202222 or call the Stoke and Staffs Growth Hub Helpline on 0300 111 8002 or email: info@staffordshirechambers.co.uk

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