Coronavirus and the High Street

Coronavirus and the High Street

At the Forum of Private Business we know from our members feedback, that the impact of the coronavirus outbreak will be felt by many of the UK’s small businesses over the coming months, they make up the largest part of the UK economy and some who are already under a lot of pressure may well be put out of business.

The high street has been under pressure for several years now and the Forum of private business have been pushing our “Restore the High street” campaign to try and help matters. Having owned and run outlets on the high street, I know how difficult it is to manage and balance cash flow to keep your business afloat and the impact on cash flow, particularly in lean periods, where there is more going out than coming in is a challenge high street businesses are constantly faced with. In trying to carry out this balancing act many small business owners end up dipping into their personal savings, pay their staff but not themselves, can face serious mental health issues and in the worst-case scenario, their business fails.

With this in mind, the Government and Landlords really need to think about the long-term future of these businesses, many of whom if they fail will not return, meaning everyone loses.

So the Forum would like to see VAT cancelled by the government for the foreseeable future while coronavirus is being dealt with, local authorities need to cancel business rates for the same reasons and finally, landlords across the country need to give their tenants a rent holiday if we do these three things we can give some help immediately to many small businesses who will need it during this crisis.

We also need to think about others and perhaps this would be a good time to change the late payment culture which has grown in the UK in recent years, so perhaps big business can lead the way, thinking about the people their payment procedures impact on rather than their own bottom line.

Times of dramatic change means we need to take new and innovative approaches, “tradition” and “the way we have always done things” will not do, new situations need new approaches, so we hope business in general, this government and the UK’s landlords are willing to take them!