The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr Adam Marshall, said the Chancellor must not waste the chance to set out a clear, long-term framework for business recovery in next week’s Budget.
Speaking in response to the publication of a BEIS Committee report, ‘The impact of Coronavirus on businesses and workers’, Dr Marshall said Chambers had repeatedly warned businesses could not cope with the Government’s stop-start approach to lockdowns and needed a clear plan.
He said: “The situation for many firms is critical, as this report demonstrates. With cliff edges on Government support schemes nearing, keeping the furlough scheme available until a full reopening of the economy is possible, extending and expanding business rates relief, prolonging VAT deferrals, and an immediate, further round of upfront cash grant support are just some of the practical steps that the Government must take in order to give firms a fighting chance of restarting and rebuilding their operations.
“The Chancellor has an opportunity on Budget Day to set out a clear, long-term framework for how financial support will be delivered. He must not waste it.
“As Chambers of Commerce have said repeatedly over the past twelve months, business communities cannot be turned on and off like light switches, nor expected to withstand stop-start restrictions and the drip-feeding of announcements on financial support.
“Our research has consistently highlighted the debilitating impact of restrictions on business’ cashflow and ability to retain staff. The nature of the pandemic has undoubtedly meant that certain sectors have been hit harder than others, and it is right that the government has taken steps to keep them afloat. However, this report rightly shines a light on parts of the economy – aviation, aerospace, health, and particularly owner-directors of limited companies – which have received comparatively little support.”