Eleanor Temple, chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 in Yorkshire and a barrister at Kings Chambers in Leeds, responds to COVID-19 employee support measures announced last week (20 March) by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP:
“The measures announced on Friday are a positive step and will go some way in providing businesses with the financial help they need to support and retain their staff and weather the economic storm.
“Once the crisis phase of this is over, businesses will need to rebuild and their staff will play a crucial part in this. The support package the Chancellor has set out today will hopefully enable them to hold on to the talent that will drive their recovery, as well as providing a financial lifeline for many employees facing a period of great uncertainty and turmoil.
“However, time will tell whether this package is enough. Detail on how this package of support will affect those who are self-employed or on zero hours contracts is needed as these groups are particularly financially vulnerable in the current climate.
“As well as support for maintaining employment, other help is needed. The VAT payment holiday is welcome, but the same could be done for other taxes.
“Despite the support the Government is providing, we are aware that this is a worrying time. Any directors or business owners whose businesses are in difficulty or are starting see signs it will struggle should seek professional advice as early as possible. Early advice and early discussions with creditors give a business more options to find and implement solutions to the challenges they face and begin to address issues like rearranging payment terms.”