Director of Bury St Edmunds accountancy Jacobs Allen on why the Government needs to be more open on the support it offers
A director of a Bury St Edmunds accountants has called on the Government to be more open about its coronavirus financial support.
Keith Senior, director of Jacobs Allen, which is based in Abbeygate Street, said many of the firm’s 600 clients have expressed concerns.
Questions are surrounding the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - which sees banks lend firms money, with the government guaranteeing 80 per cent of the loan.
Jacobs Allen, which also has a branch in High Street, Haverhill, has been ‘doing a lot of hand holding’ as businesses negotiate how they can benefit from the loan scheme.
Mr Senior said banks should be taking more risks to help businesses through the difficult time.
He said: “The banks have been reluctant to hand out money without recognising the borrower has a good chance of repaying it.
“The businesses do not have all of the tools the banks would expect them to have (when applying for a loan). They would expect cashflow forecasts for at least 12 months showing their ability to repay. Doing that right now is quite a difficult task because there is so much uncertainty of when things will get back to normality.”
Some businesses have already spoken of their struggle in needing to pay bills in a time when their cashflow has ceased because of the lockdown.
Small companies in buildings of rateable values below £15,000 are being given relief on their business rates, while others in certain sectors can apply for grants. The government has also introduced its furlough scheme to help workers.
Some firms have told the Bury Free Press they have been missed off any cover because they ‘fall through the cracks’ of requirements.
Mr Senior continued: “There has been a bit of stress and anxiety around. We have tried to help our clients understand the measures around. We have had to do a lot of hand holding and if you want some help to do all of these things then we can provide it. There is so much they can do.”
“One thing the government can do is to be more open about what they are saying to banks, and challenge the banks to get money out to businesses quicker,” he said.
I think the government needs to be more clear with the banks on how they can deal with this.
“They want assurance of the guarantee. I think the government needs to be more clear with the banks on how they can deal with this.
“The government has shown in the past they will do all they can to help out the banks.
“The banks should show responsibility to the business community by taking a few more risks.”
More by this authorWilliam Mata