Lockdown delay leaves many businesses with nothing but concerns
Businesses across the UK are left with severe concerns following Boris Johnson’s announcement of a four-week delay to the final phase of his roadmap to end the lockdown.
The delay means that the remaining social restrictions will continue beyond 21st June, coming as a blow to those who must remain closed or have their trade restricted.
The prime minister did state that a review will be conducted after two weeks and that he’s ‘confident’ the delay would last no longer than four weeks.
However, he told a Downing Street press conference that they’re not ruling out the possibility of further delays if the rapidly spreading Delta variant does not subside.
What restrictions will continue following the delay?
A number of restrictions that were expected to be lifted in June will continue, limiting the capabilities of many businesses and for some, continuing their almost never-ending closure.
The restrictions that will remain in place until July include:
- Limits on the number of people who can mix indoors and outdoors
- Limits on the number of people allowed to attend sport events
- Reduced capacity for pubs, clubs, theatres and cinemas
- Nightclubs must remain closed
Increased vaccine availability
In an attempt to further protect the nation, the prime minister also announced that the gap between COVID-19 jabs for those over 40 in England will be eight weeks rather than 12.
Another revelation in yesterday’s announcement was that from 15th June, 23 and 24-year-olds can book their vaccination, and plans are in place to have offered all adults aged 18 and over their first dose by 19th July.
If your business is considering tracking employee vaccinations, check out our blog to find out everything you need to know.
What does the lockdown delay mean for businesses?
The lockdown delay will come as an enormous blow to those businesses who must remain closed or have their trade restricted, especially the UK hospitality industry, which has already lost £3bn in sales throughout the pandemic.
As many businesses have struggled throughout the lockdown, facing damage to their cashflow and revenue, concerns have arisen regarding what support will be available.
The Treasury has said that eligible businesses will continue to benefit from business rates relief, VAT reduction and the Recovery Loan Scheme while the furlough scheme and self-employed support remains in place until September.
But many are asking: is this support enough?
Claire Walker, Co-Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, stated: “The government must provide further cash grants, at least equivalent to levels provided during the first lockdown, and delay the tapering of government payments into the furlough scheme, planned for the start of July.
“The government should also consider extending the trade credit reinsurance scheme beyond the end of June to minimise possible disruptions in insurance coverage."
Stay up to date with the IRIS Blog, where we’ll be covering any updates on business support.
What does the lockdown delay mean for accountants and their clients?
Due to the prolonged uncertainty as a result of the lockdown delay, clients will now be turning to their accountants for support on how to keep their business afloat for even longer.
To assist, accountants must continue advising clients on:
- How to improve cashflow
- Exploring other sources of income, often by business pivoting
- What financial help is available.
Due to the Job Retention Scheme support also decreasing, there will be more pressure on businesses, which could result in redundancies or closures.
So, for some accountants, advising their clients on unpopular decisions which will be needed for their businesses to survive will be a crucial responsibility.
But perhaps most importantly, amongst the delay and everything that's happening, accountants need to ensure that they continue a dialogue with their clients and are there for them during these challenging times.
How can IRIS help?
If COVID-19 has pushed your business to pursue a digital transformation within HR, sign up for our complimentary webinar that looks at how you can achieve the maximum return on investment.