Berry Smith are members of the UK200Group, a UK wide network of lawyers and accountancy firms, representing around 150,000 SME businesses nationally.
During April the UK200Group has been asking small businesses across the UK to share information about how their business was faring before the lockdown, what has happened since and outlook for the future.
31% of the 1,793 SME businesses who participated in the research believe they could close permanently if the lockdown continues beyond June. Given there are 16.7 million people employed by SMEs (according to the government’s own statistics released in 2019), this could result in over 195,000 in Wales being made unemployed, and 5 million in total across the UK.
This is a stark and worrying number, but this is the reality of what the UK may be facing.
Therefore we, and other UK200 firms, have written to the Prime Minister and to the Chancellor to highlight the 3 key areas of concern for SMEs that the research has identified:
1 - Access to bank funding to preserve their business;
2 - Help rebuilding their business once the pandemic eases; and
3 - More support for the self-employed to tide them over.
In our letter, we have called on the government to prioritise support for SMEs and in particular, we have highlighted the following measures that will help address SMEs current challenges:
1 - Removing some of the administrative hurdles of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
2 - Continued support for furloughed employees, rather than a hard end to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
3 - Refining the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to ensure it is well targeted.
We have called on the government to Stay Focused > Protect the Economy > Save Jobs.
We are committed to doing our bit to support our clients by raising issues with the government on SMEs behalf and by collaborating with the government and others to achieve these goals.
We are here to help.