Saturday, March 28, 2020

During this extremely difficult time for many businesses, we are gearing all our coverage to the effect of the coronavirus, the government response to it, and advice from the best sources we can find for how to get through it.

Michael Northcott, Editor

CIMA calls on government for SME and self-employment support

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The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) has called on the government self-employed, sole traders, and small businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak. 

The institute announced it has written to the chancellor and put forward five key measures to be implemented to help those in self-employment and the “most vulnerable” areas of business not yet addressed by government measures. 

Its first proposal is the introduction of a new quick-to-access Coronavirus Loan Scheme for self-employed and sole traders to solve any current cashflow issues and continue trading, whilst covering immediate expenses. 

The second proposal is to offer a basic three-month income grant for self-employed and gig economy workers who are struggling with loss of income. 

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CIMA said that the grant would enable such workers to shore up cashflow, pay bills and spend in the economy.

Thirdly, the institution has called on the government to immediately reduce VAT to 15% in order to encourage spending, keep businesses afloat and boost the economy in the short-term. 

It has also asked for communication channels for businesses, SMEs, self-employed and individual consumers to be consolidated. It said that with the “number of new schemes and policies being announced at a rapid pace, businesses and individuals alike find themselves overwhelmed by the flow of information”.

Finally, it has called on the government to extend the business rates holiday to all SMEs and suspend evictions to help struggling businesses preserve cashflow and keep supply chains open, which it argues would “benefit the UK economy in the long-term”.

CIMA said that its proposed measures would “complement the swift and helpful government’s response to support society, business and the economy during these unprecedented and testing times”.

Andrew Harding FCMA, CGMA, chief executive, said: “We understand the Government is currently under huge pressure and strain, and has already provided businesses and consumers with measures that will really help them. 

“We fully support these measures, but believe more needs to be done to support the micro business owners and self-employed, who make an important contribution to our economy – we are calling for these suggestions to ensure that they are able to do so now and in the future.”

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