It is clear that Covid-19 has challenged our society in all aspects and it has changed every each of us in a different way. In the economy sector small and medium-size businesses continue to struggle and worry about a broad combination of issues that range from keeping their employees, customers safety, shoring-up liquidity and dealing and implementing complicated government rules.
Small companies owners ask Welsh and UK governments to “work together” to offer support and save thousands of businesses from bankruptcy during the coronavirus crisis, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The FSB warns that job losses from small and medium-sized firms which amount around 60% of private employment could have a large negative impact on the economy overall.
Company Mountain Ash-based CBS employs 20 people, processing checks on job candidates, particularly in areas where safeguarding is of supreme importance. Chief Executive Rachel Bedgood told BBC that business was reliant on a prosperous recruitment market, adding the past few months have been “immensely challenging” and “the demand for our services relatively quickly dropped off a cliff”. “The furlough scheme was initially fantastic. The new [Job Support Scheme that] has just come in now is a little bit too late for us.”
She also told the BBC news that making redundancies was “difficult”, having replaced seven posts with five new higher-skilled jobs. She remains positive about her 15-year-old business.
Businesses keep struggling to understand all the complicated implications of COVID-19 and the uncertain future of their business.
A recent Simply Business survey found that the pandemic has cost the average small business in the UK over £11,000 with some areas being hit harder than others. The survey asked 3,700 UK small business owners and self-employed people.
UK government says that it has been supporting small and medium businesses with billions of pounds. Government’s furlough scheme which pays 60% of wages leaving employers paying 20% including those businesses closed down during the lockdown ends on 31 October, and the new job support scheme starts on 1 November.
On the new scheme, the government will provide up to 61% of wages for hours not worked. Only previously furloughed employees can be furloughed again and the Welsh Government asked the Treasury to bring forward the Job Support Scheme to cover the whole firebreak period but this has been declined by the UK government.
The FSB policy chair Ben Francis said: "While perhaps [small businesses] aren't necessarily as headline-grabbing as when you say a large scale or a chain employer decides to cut jobs, they still are just as important."
None is immune to the pandemic’s effects and understanding and supporting those businesses owners with limited financial resources will help the global economy to respond to the crisis.
Written by Coralie Ayala