CEO of Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, Sara Williams, is writing regularly about the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and what support is available.
The big news many of are waiting on today is for the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, to unveil financial aid for self-employed people. There are around 5 million self-employed people in this country, many of whom have lost their income overnight and who are anxious to find out what government support will become available to help them through. There’s been a hint that support will only be given to those who have been trading for three years. I’m lobbying hard for there to be support for all self-employed people.
Another current concern is the news that some banks are asking for personal guarantees on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). This requirement loads most of the risk that the loan goes bad onto the business owner, rather than the banks. Let us know if you’ve been asked to do this so we can raise the issue for you. It’s not fair that business owners are being asked to take more risk, especially at what is already a stressful time.
It’s also worth mentioning that VAT is being deferred for three months – but you’ll still need to file your VAT returns as usual and make sure you cancel your direct debit as otherwise the payment will still go out as before.
At Staffordshire Chambers, we’re working closely with the British Chambers of Commerce and the chamber network across the country to be the voice of business. The British Chambers’ Director General, Adam Marshall, is meeting weekly with the governor of the Bank of England, and daily with heads of various government departments, including BEIS, to ensure our voices are heard and we are a key part of the conversation.
If you raise a concern with us, we share it with the British Chambers. This means there is a direct line to the top through your local Chamber, whatever your issue is.
Remember, everyone at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce is working hard to support the business community at this challenging time. While our offices are closed, our phonelines are open 8am-6pm every day – call us on 01782 202222. The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub are also still providing great support and dealing with your queries – give them a ring on 0300 111 8002.
We’re here to support the people and businesses of Staffordshire during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.