Latest Updates From Surrey Chambers CEO – June 16th 2021
16th June 2021
Last week saw our first face to face event since March 2020. Around 30 members attended the Surrey Chambers AGM at Guildford Pavilion and there was a real positivity in the air as well as a lot of elbow tapping to greet each other! We are really excited at Surrey Chambers to welcome several new Council members, adding to our established group that ensures we are a membership organisation, driven by our members. Joining us this year are Jarmila Yu from Yunique Marketing; Mandira Sarkar from Mandira’s Kitchen; Chris Hurren from RSM; Martine Robins from HR Dept; Grant Bourhill from Surrey Research Park and Matt Letley from REDBOX.
Opening up the economy
We are disappointed that the 21st June will not be the date that all restrictions are lifted, however we are making sure that the Chancellor understands the impact this will have on businesses. We are asking the government to provide further cash grants, at least equivalent to levels provided during the first lockdown, and delay the tapering of government payments into the furlough scheme, planned for the start of July. The government should also consider extending the trade credit reinsurance scheme beyond the end of June to minimise possible disruptions in insurance coverage. We are asking the Government to work with lenders to ensure that appropriate forbearance is in place for those who have used government lending schemes and already started to repay their loan without being able to open fully. An extension of the VAT deferral scheme and the 100% Business Rates relief for eligible businesses should also be considered given the length of the delay and the impact on hospitality and leisure firms. We are also keen to understand how long free testing will continue for and believe that for reasons of business and employee confidence, as well as public health, Government must guarantee free testing for all for at-least the medium term.
Armed Forces Week
With Armed Forces Week commencing on 21st June, supportive employers are gearing up to show the whole of the Armed Forces community some much deserved recognition. There are still plenty of ways businesses can show their support for the Reservists, Veterans, Service Families and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers within their organisations. Reserves Day is an opportunity to recognise and thank reservists and their employers for their contribution to UK Defence. We are encouraging businesses to get their Reservists to wear their uniform to ‘work’ during the week and share photos in uniform online using the tag #SaluteOurForces. There is information on local events on the Armed Forces Day website.
It was good to see that the UK and Australia Governments reached an historic Agreement in Principle to sign a Free Trade Agreement which is projected to significantly boost trade with Australia. International trade, the investment it brings, and the deals being negotiated will deliver growth, jobs, higher wages and a better standard of living to all parts of the UK. There are 10 clearly defined benefits of this trade deal but the top one has to be tariff free trade for all British goods. The deal removes tariffs on £4.3bn of exports, making it cheaper to sell iconic products like cars, Scotch whisky and ceramics into Australia – supporting industries that employ 3.5 million people in the UK. We are still witnessing issues amongst our exporters and encourage any with feedback to let us know so that these can be raised in the appropriate forums.