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by Nick Paterno, managing partner at McBrides Chartered Accountants

Whilst all business owners will understand and recognise the need to protect the community from the effects of covid, and the necessity for the government to react to changing circumstances, the changes in messaging and policy over the last six weeks haven’t been helpful to business.  

Those who have brought workers back in to their premises, invested in measures to change their workplace, and put training in place will feel that the reversal of the ‘get back to work’ message is a kick in the teeth. 

Listening to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s speech to the Commons yesterday and his broadcast to the nation, I think we can agree – no one wants a repeat of a full lockdown.  There are many businessesthat would not survive going through lockdown again, but uncertainty and lack of confidence has also always been a killer for business. And the lack of ability to plan for the future without a stable regulatory environment is damaging.

SMEs and business need a greater sense of direction, not u-turns on policy. The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is a prime example of this. It encouraged the hospitality industry to build capacity and now capacity is being restricted with the 10pm curfew. No wonder those in the industry are pulling their hair out.

Businesseses, much like the general public, are fatigued by the uncertainty and from the fight to keep going. Chancellor Rishi Sunak may well provide additional targeted support shortly (though that was not part of the announcement yesterday), but what business needs is greater certainty to plan it’s way through this crisis. After all, the spike in infections through the autumn and winter months will come as no surprise to anyone remotely interested in what has been going on since the virus took hold in the UK.

If you need help reformulating your business plan so that it’s robust enough to get you through these challenging times, or if need help with cash flow planning do get in touch www.mcbridesllp.com.