The wheels on the bus...
The wheels are coming off the bus but Chancellor Sunik is going to "execute and operationalise" his interventions for small business. The language may mean something to him, I suppose.
On the hospitality sector, he said "For those venues which do have a policy that covers pandemics - the government action is sufficient to allow them to make claims”. For the smaller businesses in that sector who don't have insurance he says he will provide cash grants of £25,000 per business "to help bridge through this period".
It was interesting that ITV’s Robert Peston asked a question about grants “that might be repayable”. Does he know something?
We await the detail, with the added complication that in some part the support funds will be funnelled through the Scottish Government, which had previously said…
The following steps will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:
• an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19
Presumably the £3,000 could be expected to increase to £10,000 or £25,000. The sectors need to be properly defined. The chancellor called for partnership working… fast and quickly… so that people do not need to make those difficult decisions.
Form next week, said the chancellor, businesses will be able to walk into their local branch (ha ha!) and talk to someone about business interruption loans.. But what small local business needs are cash grants now, not the promise of funding in the future.
Asked if a recession was inevitable, the chancellor said there would be a “significant impact on the economy” (so, yes), but it would be temporary. Things will be better in time.
Time (and not a lot of time) will tell if owner managed businesses are being thrown under the COVID-19 bus.