Coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on businesses and economic activity across the UK. Firms that were forecasting growth and planning to recruit only a couple of months ago are now shutting their d…

The coronavirus crisis will test UK business resilience to its limit

Firms that were forecasting growth and planning to recruit only a couple of months ago are now shutting their doors for an indefinite period, and many will look to furlough at least some of their staff. From major companies facing overseas supply chain disruption through to sole traders in every town and city here at home, our network of over 100 business communities collects the real-world experience of business on the ground across the UK – and we are working constructively with the UK government to ensure that practical support and cash get to the front line as quickly as possible. So we worked tirelessly to secure grants and tax deferrals from the UK Government to help ease the pressure – as well as a huge new programme of loans and other finance support from the Treasury and the Bank of England. We also campaigned for an extension of HMRC’s Time to Pay scheme, to give more firms breathing space to deal with the most sudden shift in business conditions in living memory. Some firms face a perfect storm of increased costs, reduced demand and events beyond their control that mean they will struggle to meet their obligations. Chambers’ reach into businesses communities across the UK means we have an unparalleled understanding of the situation on the ground, and this is backed up by data. There’s no escaping the scale of the challenge UK businesses are facing, yet many are already finding ways to contribute to the national effort to tackle coronavirus. Many well-loved local firms are at the front line of the cash flow challenge and will need community support in the days and weeks ahead. If they can operate safely and responsibly and have not been directed to close by the health authorities, these companies deserve backing – not backlash – from the wider public. This blog post expresses the views of its author(s), not the position of LSE Business Review or the London School of Economics.

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