Latest Update from Surrey Chambers CEO
22nd October 2020
Writing a column in these times is really challenging as the pace of change is so fast that anything written soon becomes history. As I write, this week, we are waiting for improved support for businesses, who are shut down or affected by the tier system. Many others have written screeds about the tier system so I will stick with the fact that we currently have one Tier 2 area in Elmbridge, which mainly affects people not being able to meet indoors with other households. Whilst this sounds a relatively small change it will have a knock-on effect to people going to restaurants as well as a knock on to the rest of the economy as there are less pounds in people’s pockets to spend. The Chamber network has been talking to government daily about the need to look longer term. We need a strategy that allows us to avoid economic paralysis and to manage the impact of the virus on our communities over the longer term. Our businesses have worked incredibly hard to implement Government guidance and create a Covid-secure environment for employees, visitors and customers. The Test and Trace systems must be urgently improved and expanded to help us through this crisis.
Time is running out for businesses looking for the special loans available due to the Coronavirus epidemic. We have until the end of November to apply for- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) or the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS).
Kickstart scheme picking up steam
As a Gateway organisation, Surrey Chambers of Commerce is supporting businesses in applying to take on a Kickstart Placement if they require less than 30 placements. This scheme has been set up by the government to support young people, who have been badly hit by the events of the last 7 months but also to help employers to take on a fresh recruit for 6 months to help get the business back up to speed. The young person also gains crucial work experience preparing them in the best way possible for future employment. We are really delighted that we have now received 300 requests for roles in just about every sector and every function. Although it is taking a while to set this scheme up our local Job centres are ready and eager to start matching young people with the huge variety of placements on offer We will be sharing success stories over the course of the next 12 months and look forward to seeing the development of both the young people and the businesses.
The end to transition from the EU is not going away
Facing the triple threat of a resurgent Coronavirus, tightening restrictions and a disorderly end to the transition period, it is little wonder businesses are struggling to prepare. Many firms will be tired of posturing, cliff edges and deadlines, while others are still grappling with fundamental challenges as a result of the pandemic. More businesses will undoubtedly step up preparations for change over the coming weeks, but many are still facing unanswered Brexit questions that have a big impact on their day to day operations. A UK-EU deal is still both possible and critically important as talks resume at the 11th hour. No matter what happens, businesses will have to change. But we need a deal that supports businesses and jobs, and final clarity over what changes they must make. At Surrey Chambers we recommend ALL businesses visit www.gov.uk/transition and use the checker tool to identify areas where their business may be affected and what actions they may need to take to prepare. The Chamber will be holding webinars throughout November and December to provide details and answers to business questions.
Surrey Chambers of Commerce can be reached on 01483 735540, firstname.lastname@example.org, @surreychambers