Written by: Keith Tully
The survival of many UK companies continues to hang in the balance as the country and the government look for ways to safely reopen the economy.
According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), many businesses are in dire need of support from the government that, it says, “cannot wait until the autumn”.
The CBI has praised the government’s policies and decisiveness in helping companies weather the economic storm they were hit with so suddenly earlier in the year as a result of COVID-19.
But the organisation is convinced that a large numbers of firms will soon be struggling to stay afloat unless further decisive action is taken at the level of public policy.
The CBI says it wants to see grant-based SME support schemes being run by local authorities, business rates relief being extended, VAT payments being deferred and the deadline for the Coronavirus Business Loan Scheme being extended for three months beyond September.
A major new jobs scheme delivered “at speed and scale” should also be established to help young people and others find employment, the CBI has said.
There are concerns that redundancies and job losses, which have already been recorded in large numbers across much of the UK economy, will start to mount up even more rapidly in the next few months as government support schemes are scaled back or ended.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the CBI’s director general, has said that the government must look to “get ahead of this tidal wave of economic damage with at scale, at speed, targeted support”.
“The government’s support of business during the crisis has saved countless firms,” she said.
“But the rising number of redundancies and benefit claimants shows just how hugely damaging this pandemic has been for our economy.
“The survival of many businesses in hard hit sectors still hangs in the balance over the summer as schemes begin to wind down. These firms cannot wait until the autumn for further action.”