Which do you rate as the most important - Collecting your money or Everyone’s health?
In these unprecedented times with COVID-19, how are you treating customers who owe your company money? How are you managing to pay your suppliers?
It is very difficult when you may be struggling with orders, paying your creditors and keeping your business going. This is a situation many companies are now faced with.
In my case, open courses and venues have been cancelled, in-house training has stopped, and I don’t know where the next booking for training will come from.
What am I doing about companies who registered delegates, were invoiced, postponed and didn’t pay? Well, what can one do in these troubling times? We need to empathise, understand and appreciate the situation without getting personally involved or emotional.
Hopefully, the training courses will be able to go ahead again soon, and we will get paid when our clients feel they are able to attend without worrying about self-isolation, which my wife Jane and I are currently doing.
How is the UK Government and the Banks Helping Businesses?
What should be happening:
Businesses will start benefiting from business rates relief, grants of up to £25,000 and Government Guaranteed Loans, interest free for 12 months.
Banks in the UK were bailed out by the Government in 2008, however, they don’t seem to be responding quickly enough to supporting good businesses with the Government Guaranteed Loans nor with any other form of borrowing a business may need.
Here is what Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary had to say on 1st April:
“On Saturday, I said that we had provided funds to councils in England for grants to small businesses. As of today, these local authorities have received more than £12 billion.
“This afternoon I held a call with hundreds of local authorities across England and made clear that this money must reach businesses as quickly as possible. And I know that businesses across England have already started to receive these grants.
“We know high street banks are working really hard to support the UK through this period, including through mortgage holidays and increased credit facilities.
“Loans for businesses are also being issued through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme since it came into operation last week.
“The Chancellor, together with the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority, wrote to the chief executives of the UK banks to urge them to make sure that the benefits of the Loan Scheme are passed through to businesses and consumers.
“And it would be completely unacceptable if any banks were unfairly refusing funds to good businesses in financial difficulty.
“Just as the taxpayer stepped in to help the banks back in 2008, we will work with the banks to do everything they can to repay that favour and support the businesses and people of the United Kingdom in their time of need.
“Of course, this is a brand-new scheme and, as with all new schemes, it will not be perfect from the outset.
“We are listening all the time. And in response to concerns that we’ve heard from businesses, we are looking at ways in which we can ensure they get the support they need. The Chancellor will be saying more on this in the coming days.
“It is crucial that when we overcome this crisis, as in time we will, that businesses are in a good position to move forward.
“Times are tough, and we have harder times ahead of us.
“But I know that together, we will pull through.”
The Government has provided good schemes for most working individuals and the self-employed, but Owner Directors working from home and those on zero hours contracts are still waiting for some kind of relief.
Hopefully, we will get back to normality sooner rather than later. In the meantime, keep calm, stay safe and keep fit and healthy.
Best wishes to all,
Steve Savva FCICM
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