Business leaders describe Government measures as ‘incredible interventions’

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce

Industry leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire have described the Government’s latest economic measures as ‘incredible interventions’ to protect jobs and businesses.

In his latest round of announcements to deal with the impact of the Coronavirus, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government would pay up to 80 per cent of workers’ salaries through a new grant system, was deferring VAT payments for the next quarter and that Business Interruption Loans would be available from today (March 23rd).

It came as Prime Minster Boris Johnson announced that bars, restaurants, pubs, clubs and gyms would all close to reduce human contact to drive down the spread of the virus.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “These are incredible interventions from Government – the like of which we have never seen before.

“We know, from speaking to businesses daily, that company owners and their staff have huge concerns which we have fed through to Government and the Bank of England in recent days. They have clearly listened and these fresh announcements will have addressed some of those concerns.

“However, the unprecedented nature of the announcements from the Government mean that there is a lot to unpick and a huge amount to understand in a very short space of time.

“We, at the Chamber, will be working with partners across the region to ensure that companies can call upon the help and advice they need to know which areas of support will help them best get through this extraordinary period.

“What’s vitally important for cashflow, is that loans and local authority grants are available immediately to give business breathing space while HMRC readies itself.

“The key message from the Chancellor to businesses was to hold off making any decisions around cuts until they have understood and digested the packages of support available in order to protect as many jobs and companies as possible.”