Where is the support for businesses and employees?

Refusing to provide, new, targeted furlough support for those impacted by the new restrictions surely undermines the support previously provided to employees negatively impacted by Covid restrictions, say tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg. Robert Salter a director at the firm spoke to Business Leader about the challenges facing companies across the UK.

The Government’s decision to opt for ‘Plan B’ in the face of the Omicron version of Covid is not surprising. However, it is surprising that the Government has not arranged to provide company’s and employees negatively impacted by the change, with some sort of structured support.

Whilst the Government’s plan B is certainly not akin to the restrictions which we saw in 2020 or the first part of 2021, the reality is that these limited restrictions will have a significant negative impact on many businesses and their employees.

For example, many employees on flexible hour contracts simply won’t be required in shops, cafes and restaurants. These businesses will suffer significant drops in footfall because of the plan B restrictions and employees will be ‘laid off’ at least temporarily or have their hours and hence income significantly reduced.

Given that we remain in ‘unprecedented times’, and employees and businesses are facing risks, which are not their fault and which they cannot directly control, and as it is suggested that these new restrictions could last until at least late January, the Government should continue to provide support at this stage.

It is only reasonable for the Government to accept that they continue to have an obligation to support British businesses and workers facing challenging times over the coming weeks. This would enable businesses and workers to continue trading and working over the medium term once restrictions are lifted.