Amidst the lingering uncertainty that hangs around all areas of life at the moment, the issue of financial support for struggling businesses is a delicate and emotive one, to say the least.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak was clear when he said that the Government would do “whatever it takes” to support small, medium and big businesses through the crisis, but there is some doubt over when and if this will actually come to fruition.
This doubt comes from several business owners, who have tried and failed to gain access to the emergency grants and the much discussed ‘loans with attractive terms.’ There are reports that the big banks, who have been entrusted with managing the loans on behalf of the Government, are very inconsistent with their rates, as well as their definition of the term ‘attractive.’
Apparently, when they have been able to get through on the phone, business owners have been seeing a disparity in rates ranging between 7% and 30%, and so it is easy to understand the frustration and confusion they feel right now.
In fairness to the banks and the Government, this has all happened so quickly, and the rule book has not just been ripped up, but set on fire and thrown out of the window.
In truth, any expectation that this would ever have been sorted out overnight was wholly unrealistic.
All business owners are looking for, aside from urgent financial support, is a little security that they will survive, which is why we’re saying that the ball is firmly in the banks’ court. They have the obligation and the duty to manage this in a fair and supportive way, with realistic and relative terms that support businesses, big and small, through these unprecedented times.
(Not least because they’ve been bailed out big time in the past…)
The bottom line is that up to a million firms face closure in the next month, if financial support cannot be arranged.
Up to one million.
That is unthinkable, even with all that is going on in the world.
Health is obviously the most important thing right now, but business owners are still looking to the banks to put the money where the Government’s mouth is.
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