Well what a week that was, and not one that any of us will want to repeat. Like many of you, my firm’s staff have had to move to home working where possible and I have been having difficult conversations with colleagues where that is not feasible. I am now encamped at home working at the kitchen table battling for broadband width. Today’s recommendation for people not to move home will not make the position any easier for those of us who rely on property transactions for our income!
Information has been coming in at a very fast pace over the past week and the email that I sent on Friday afternoon was out of date by Friday evening! There is a danger of information overload at the moment and I would again encourage you to deep up to date with the information which is being circulated by the Dorset Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
You can sign up to their daily emails if you do not receive those already. I want to thank Ian Girling, Steve Bulley and the rest of the team at Dorset Chamber, who are working full time to help us navigate through this. Ian has daily briefings with the British Chamber of Commerce, who can make direct representations to the government. We are affiliated to the Dorset Chamber and should you have any specific queries or comments, you can email Steve Bulley at to be put in touch with the right member of the team.
Without any political allegiance, the government has got to be commended for putting in place the financial support measures that it has. Without those, our businesses and staff would be in a much more dire situation. By way of a brief summary, they are;
- A government backed business interruption loan scheme – available through your own bank.
- A job retention scheme whereby 80% of employee’s wages will be paid (up to £2,500 per month) if they are unable to work as a result of the outbreak.
- A self-employment Income Support Scheme which will allow a taxable grant worth 80% of trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next three months.
- A Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium sized business (SMEs).
- A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England (since last week this has been extended to include Estate Agents).
- Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief.
- Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
- The HMRC Time to Pay Scheme.
More details on all of the above can now be found in one place:
Whilst all of these measure are very welcome, I still think that they do not go far enough in two particular respects:
- They do not provide support for the income of those running small businesses who take their income through dividends from their companies. In many situations, those companies are family businesses and will have been set up as the vehicle for running the business following the receipt of professional advice, for proper reasons, such as the limited liability status available to such companies. In terms of the pros and cons that will have been discussed with those professional advisors, nobody would consider that there would be a risk that financial support available to the self-employed would not be available to them. I understand that this is something that has been raised within Ian Girling’s discussions with the British Chamber of Commerce.
- We have many members who will be reliant on seasonal work. In those situations, a huge majority of their income will be earned from Easter to the end of the summer holiday period. It is unfair that their income will be calculated as 80% of the year long average rather than 80% of the income that they would have earned during the summer months.
I have emailed Ian and asked him to make representations to ensure that those aspects are not overlooked.
Stay safe and healthy.