Reopening plan gives hope to small business owners

April 29, 2021

Commenting on the Government’s reopening plan announced this evening, Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director of the Small Firms Association (SFA) said: “Small firms will be incredibly pleased to hear that we now have some indicative dates for a wider reopening of business and society, particularly in the non-essential retail, hair and beauty and hospitality sectors, as well as those operating in the Experience Economy. This is something that SFA has been pressing for and we are pleased to see Government has taken on board business concerns.

“This evening’s announcement will give hope to many business owners and their staff, allowing them to plan for a safe and successful reopening that will benefit both our economy and society.

“While the easing of restrictions is welcome, it doesn’t mean this crisis is over for our smallest employers. These businesses are saddled with debt and will continue to experience financial difficulties. SFA has been calling for the full range of COVID-19 business supports, to be kept in place for as long as needed and welcomes this evening’s commitment to no cliff edge in financial supports and the restart payment for firms availing of CRSS.

“Unfortunately, many small firms find themselves outside the technical scope of the CRSS or other grant schemes and should not be denied business supports to help see them through this incredibly difficult period. SFA is calling on Government to step in and ensure the quick and effective delivery of the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID-19, for these businesses and to commit to a second grant for quarter two.

“It is regrettable that a return to office roadmap was not announced as part of this evening’s announcement. Guidance on when a partial and gradual return to offices is needed to allow small firms to prepare and put systems and controls in place before they reopen their offices to employees.”

On the eve of the 7th National Workplace Wellbeing Day, taking place, tomorrow, Friday 30 April, the SFA continues to highlight the importance of workplace wellbeing and calls for greater access to initiatives and services for small firms. The Government needs to recognise the importance of health and wellbeing and should allocate additional funding to Local Enterprise Offices to provide resources and guidance for small business owners and their teams.