COVID-19 Research: More Than 50% of SMEs Have Furloughed Staff

40% SMEs closed

Over the course of the past few weeks, TBL Accountants has been conducting research amongst small businesses across The South East and the UK.

The results make for worrying reading with more than 40% of SMEs closed as a result of the lockdown and more than half of all SMEs businesses having furloughed staff.

There has been so much reported in the press about the financial impact of the lockdown due to Coronavirus. Whilst the government is doing much to support businesses and the economy, the reality is that not all businesses or jobs will be saved. Rishi Sunak has said this himself.

Our research really brings home the reality for many businesses.  We are sharing some of the comments SMEs made to us in the research.  So, in their own words, this is what it means to SMEs in South East:

  • I was employed until 19 June but am now self-employed so I not eligible for either the support schemes for the self-employed or the furlough scheme as an employee.
  • I am an owner/director with my wage topped up by dividends. Thus, no help from the Government.
  • The Government has come up with some good ideas, however, small firms are being penalised with no support available often as a result of a technicality. Home-based businesses who pay domestic rates or small companies who rent premises do not meet the needs of the small business grant mismanaged by Councils.

Commenting on the survey and the specific examples from SMEs, Chris Humpage from TBL Accountants said; “Hearing how some businesses are being affected is heart-breaking.  Many of the SMEs we are talking to feel they have been forgotten.  31% of them are predicting their business will fail if the lockdown continues beyond the end of June.  As yet we don’t know the likely impact of any ongoing measures once the lockdown is ‘eased’ but this will have a significant and long-lasting impact on the South East.”

We have written to the Prime Minister, the Chancellor to ask them to prioritise support to Stay Focused; Protect the Economy and Save Jobs. We are committed to doing our bit to support our clients and all SMEs by raising issues with the government on their behalf and by collaborating with the government and others to achieve these goals.

While our team are safely working remotely, we are here to keep you informed of all updates during this time so you can be aware of all the support being made available to you and your business. If you have any questions or enquiries, please get in touch with the team here or call us on 01702 466 886.

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