With the announcement of a further national lockdown the wind has somewhat been taken out of the sails of businesses hoping to get back on their feet in early 2021, that is following the good news about the COVID-19 vaccine.
It has been a bumpy ride for many businesses over the last few months with localised lockdowns, the tier system and different restrictions inhibiting “business as usual” and making it difficult to predict and plan for the future. More so, given the roller coaster of changes and the short notice often given about when they will come into effect.
In the hope of preserving businesses, the UK government schemes announced in lockdown one, including the job retention scheme and government backed loans, were extended over the festive period and will now be available until Spring 2021. In addition, the UK Chancellor announced today (5 January 2021) a further one off ‘top up grant’ for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure industry, enabling those businesses to claim a grant of up to £9,000 to help that sector through until Spring.
With the plan to announce the next stage of tackling the virus and protecting jobs at the next Budget on 3 March, there remains uncertainty for businesses about what the future holds and how best to plan for that.
Financial support is welcome, given the tough trading conditions, but there also needs to be careful consideration and advice taken about how best to protect the business and ensure compliance with directors’ duties, including whether further borrowings or use of the job retention scheme is the right solution.