An alliance of 15 small business organisations, alternative funders, fintech firms and thinktanks has delivered a series of fiscal recommendations to the treasury designed to help companies weather the coronavirus storm.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night ordered the UK into lockdown, with all but essential businesses ordered to close and workers told to remain at home.
The government has already unveiled upwards of £330bn of aid available to businesses, ranging from bridging grants and rate holidays to tax breaks and interest-free loans. Support has also included an unprecedented pledge to cover 80% pay for furloughed workers during the current crisis.
But with the Covid-19 impact still rising and additional restrictions being added almost daily, the economic shock of the current crisis is expected to be significant for virtually all sectors.
This has prompted the new collective to collaborate on a set of innovative, tech enabled recommendations to the Treasury Select Committee inquiry into the impact of the Government’s emergency support package.
The recommendations, spearheaded by Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation and signed up to by firms including Monzo, Coadec, IPSE and The Entrepreneurs Network, include ideas to support the self-employed via Covid Credit, a tech-solution using web flow and open banking to self-certify those with lost income.
It also recommends distributing government grants via a crowdfunding initiative called Pay it Forward run by Crowdfunder, which has already seen businesses raise thousands in a day via vouchers for future products and services.
The submission also includes a solution that would address concerns that new emergency loans already announced could be processed too late to help some, with a single digital source of entry controlled by lending firm Funding Xchange. The system would allow applications to be processed swiftly and handle alternative applications if firms don’t qualify.
Jones said: “These ideas are supported by organisations operating at the frontline of small business support and access to finance.
“We collectively reach and represent more than a million small firms and self-employed individuals.
“It is a moment for us to pull together, show compassion, and action solutions that will support our community.
“In that vein, we welcome HM Government and Treasury measures taken to date. They are significant and reflect the enormity of challenges faced by small business.
“Founders and entrepreneurs are resilient and any measures on their behalf need to be delivered at pace, via trusted third parties, so they can continue to not only run the business, but keep it in shape to grow for the future. “