BCC: Government must speed up support for businesses

Robyn Ashman

April 20, 2020

The government has been told it must speed up support for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic if people’s livelihoods are to be saved.

Friday saw Chancellor Rishi Sunak extend the government’s furlough scheme, which allows employees to get 80% of their salaries up to a maximum of 2,500 a month, for another month.

But Adam Marshall (pictured), director general at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), warned the situation for many firms remains “extremely difficult”.

When asked about the consequences of support not coming through fast enough, and told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “Well, the cost here is in terms of people’s livelihoods.

“We’re seeing for example about 66%, two-thirds of businesses, telling us that they’re going to use the furlough scheme in order to try to get some support for their employees so that they don’t have to make them redundant or lay them off.

“That’s a really big number, and unless some of that cash flows through from the furlough scheme quickly when applications open tomorrow, a lot of businesses are going to face difficulty paying wages and paying suppliers.

“So the human cost, as well as the economic cost, could be big if we don’t see support moving more quickly to the frontline.”

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