Responding to the Government’s announcement of further support for jobs and companies affected by coronavirus restrictions, Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, said:
“It is absolutely right for the government to step up its support, which must match the restrictions businesses are being put under. This new intervention should provide a lifeline for many companies and people impacted by the efforts to stop the virus spreading. Alongside wage support, ramping up grants for affected firms marks a sensible step.
“The Government should also remain alive to the potential second-order impacts of local lockdowns – which will affect firms in other areas and across the supply chain. Discretionary grants allocated through local authorities could help to address these issues, as could further modifications to the Jobs Support Scheme.
“With the resurgence of the virus hitting more and more parts of the country, the Government’s decision not to renew a key insolvency measure simply must be revisited. Reinstating wrongful trading liability adds to the pressure on directors to pull the plug on their companies, when long-term viability is still far from clear. It makes little sense to have supported these businesses through the summer, only to let them collapse in the winter.
“The Treasury has understandably focussed on defensive measures, but it should also try to get on the front foot where possible. To help those firms who are finding chinks of light to create jobs, employer national insurance costs should be cut. Tax reliefs to support substantial investment in technology, the green economy, and skills will help create new opportunities to replace those being negatively impacted by the pandemic.”