Coronavirus – BOSS with their partner BPIF calls on government to extend business support

BOSS with their partner BPIF has again urgently called for further direct support for companies in the business supplies and printing industries during the coronavirus crisis

BOSS is asking for the government to implement a number of measures and detailing some of the significant effects the crisis is having on the industries to date – in terms of financial standing, logistics, access to finance, job retention and further.

BOSS is sending a regular communication to BEIS detailing the impact of COVID-19 on businesses in its sectors, and the areas that are causing particular challenges.

The executive statement summary also included:

Industry Research

As part of ongoing discussions, feeding back key research to BEIS from its current BOSS Business Impact Survey.

Research to date – 30 March

On average:

• 29% is the average proportion of respondents whose businesses support critical services
• 77% of companies report a considerable downturn in order levels
• 88% are concerned about the short term survival of their business
• 89% are concerned about the long term survival of their businesses
• 80% say they need emergency assistance to ensure that they have sufficient cashflow to cover costs and survive

BOSS will be releasing the full report of its research shortly.

Essential services

BOSS members have reported a great deal of confusion regarding whether they can continue to operate. While the federation believes the government guidance to be clear – that businesses outside those stated as required to close can continue to operate – interpretation has varied widely across the industry and beyond.

Job Retention Scheme

While the Job Retention Scheme has been generally well-received, particularly by employers who were initially concerned about having to make redundancies, the overall lack of detail provided has been a key issue across the industry.

Within the federation, this has led to a high volume of enquiries. BOSS has sought to provide its members with clarifying guides, briefings and documents, as well as direct advice on an individual basis from its human resources and legal teams.

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However, there are a number of adjustments the government could make to the scheme which would remove some of the confusion, inject flexibility and make the scheme generally more effective.

COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme

While the government’s announcement of loans for interrupted businesses, was welcomed, feedback regarding how the scheme is working in practice is largely unfavourable.

The industry is concerned that the good intentions of the government are not being upheld by lenders, who seem willing only to lend on terms similar to criteria offered in ordinary circumstances (for example the need for personal guarantees, collateral and other common lending criteria). Many businesses are very concerned about putting company and personal assets on the line in an uncertain environment.

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