Chancellor urged to give small businesses fuel to power economy
By Rob Freeman | 5th October 2020
The Chancellor must support for small businesses to drive the economic recovery and save jobs, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak addressed the virtual Conservative conference this morning when he vowed to "balance the books" after six months of spending on coronavirus support packages.
But FSB national chairman Mike Cherry said if small businesses are to play a key role in a recovery, they will need continued support.
He said: As we approach the winter and the prospect of tougher restrictions on the economy, more help is going to be needed to avoid thousands of businesses and jobs going under.
"The Chancellor said he wants to help small businesses to adapt while creating support and extending opportunities, but any further restrictions on trading must have an economic support package attached.
"It's vital alongside this that he addresses the large gaps in support, especially to company directors and start-ups."
He said moves are also needed to help with job creation and to help people made redundant to set up their own business.
"Recent measures unveiled to help retrain and educate workers with key skills to help them get onto or back on the working ladder are welcome, but more must be done," he said.
"Much like the flexible furlough brought in over the summer, the most recent announcements relating to the Job Support Scheme will have a role in safeguarding businesses and livelihoods for the next six months.
"But this will only help those employers with roles that are on the borderline - such as where there is some work for the employee, but not enough."
He continued: "Once the furlough scheme comes to an end on October 30, there remain industries, sectors and local areas still closed or facing severe restrictions by government and with no date or prospect of opening - which therefore means no work at all for their employees.
"The future for the events sector, night-time economy, arts and travel industries looks increasingly bleak, however we are going to need them to survive in order to revive the economy.
"It remains absolutely critical that measures are announced to help those left out by these various packages in particular the newly self-employed and company directors.
"These individuals have been left with little or no income support for much of the year with little prospect in sight of a rebounding economy in the immediate future, the Government must address this area sooner rather than later."
He said support needed to be given to businesses hit by local lockdowns, curfews and reduced footfall.
"Looking to the Spring Budget, we hope the Chancellor will make a clear decision to go for growth, rather than removing money from the economy in the hope of a short-term balancing of the books," he said.
"We need to see creative ways of supporting jobs and small firms while at the same time ensuring ordinary workers and firms aren't slapped with tax hikes and rising costs which would only further damage the hope of a recovery.
"Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, but unless more support is issued soon, we could see this backbone collapse."
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