29 April 2020

New research that we have conducted during April shows that 829,167 in the South East people are at risk of unemployment.  This is a stark and worrying number, but this is the reality of what the UK may be facing.

31% of the 1,793 SME businesses who participated in our 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 829,167 in the South East being made unemployed and 5 million in total across the UK.

Commenting on these figures, Paul Stafford from TBL Accountants said; “This is not what anyone wants. Clearly therefore one of the most important issues that the government needs to focus on is to rebuild the economy. SMEs, who account for a significant proportion of the UK’s economy and workforce, need to be a priority.”

Together with the other member partners of the UK200Group, TBL Accountants has written to Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak highlighting 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.

Concluding, Paul Stafford from TBL Accountants said; “In these unusual times we need to Stay Focused; Protect the Economy and 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.

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.

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