Latest news from Surrey Chambers CEO July 2020
15th July 2020
Opening up the economy
Writing this column every two weeks gives me the chance to reflect on the huge changes within that time. And there have certainly been many! As we go to print a number of previously closed businesses have opened their doors and by the 25thJuly we will see many indoor fitness facilities reopening, including indoor pools, gyms and fitness and dance studios. Businesses in the leisure and beauty industries are relieved to finally have a timetable for reopening and can now plan for the future. However, with changes to the furlough scheme coming at the beginning of next month, a provisional timetable for reopening is still required for firms that remain fully or partially closed and face tough decisions on the viability of their business. The announcement that face coverings will be mandatory in all shops from 25th July has been met with support from businesses although they urgently need clarity on the approach to the wearing of face coverings that is consistent and supported by public health evidence so that they can maintain their Covid-secure status and continue their operations successfully.
Summer Statement from the Chancellor
There were some very positive announcements in the Chancellors statement although it is likely that the scale of the stimulus needed to help the UK economy restart, rebuild and renew will need to be greater still over the coming months. Targeted measures to help young people gain work experience and enter the labour market at this challenging time are welcome, and, so too is the focus on a greener recovery and the acceleration of key infrastructure projects. The VAT cut will help firms in the hospitality and tourism sectors, working hard to restart after many months of lost revenue. Over the coming weeks the Chancellor will also need to address the ticking clock on a number of other key concerns – including the impending end of key business loan schemes, and the unanswered question around what support will be offered to businesses and communities that face local lockdowns. Businesses face cliff-edges in the autumn as existing support winds down, and so the Government must consider reducing national insurance contributions and extending existing loan schemes.
Do you remember Brexit?
What used to be a significant topic within my column over the last 3 years has taken a back seat. However, we are hurtling towards the 1st Jan 2021, when full border controls will be in place at all ports regardless of any deal that is agreed with the EU, and an estimated 200 million more declarations will need to be made by traders annually, when importing and exporting to the EU. Surrey Chambers along with the national network of chambers is preparing to support this massive change and we urge businesses to talk to us about their needs.
We continue to work closely with both Local Enterprise Partnerships (EnterpriseM3 and Coast2Capital) and the Local Authorities to make plans to support these challenging times ahead. We will be sharing funding opportunities as they become available as well as any business support which we want to make sure is accessible to all Surrey businesses.
Surrey Chambers of Commerce can be reached on 01483 735540, firstname.lastname@example.org, @surreychambers