Dear Forum members,
First of all I hope you are all keeping fit and well through this very unusual time.
We are doing our best to keep members well informed and up-to-date with things as this is a very fluid situation. One of our main functions at the moment is giving direct feedback to the Government on key issues to highlight where a process is not working as intended and to offer immediate solutions to correct it.
With this in mind we need your help in three key areas:
Many of you will have done this, but it looks like the HMRC portal is still not live and so we don’t know what the process looks like or how we will be paid the 80% of salary. This looks like it’s taking a long time and it could potentially be June before small and micro businesses receive anything from the Treasury.
We have heard some terrible stories about both the length and complication of the process to apply for one of these loans. It seems relationship managers at banks have no relationship with small business and are going into intricate details to determine whether or not they are eligible. We have heard from members that, once the decision has been reached, the loan interest rates are very high. In some cases 8-12% for the years after the first interest-free year.
The grants of £10k to those on business rate relief and the £25k to the hospitality sector seem to be going out at a variety of speeds and with varying efficiency, depending on the approach and resources of the individual local authority involved. Some have received the money, some are still going through an application process. We know of at least two authorities who are trying to contact empty businesses in order to find out the bank details of the claimant and, in some cases, check on what they see as fraudulent claims before they send out the grants!
We have had some feedback that several independent small and micro businesses have already made the decision to close down. In order to close down efficiently and cover all expenses, they are waiting to find out if they are eligible and receive the funding.
Give us your feedback
If you are affected by any of these issues please do feed it back to the Forum firstname.lastname@example.org. We will use this information to suggest improvements of the process to Government and we’ll also do our very best to make sure as many of our small and micro businesses are around to start trading again once this crisis starts to lift.
Forum of Private Business