It was no surprise to see old Boris being wheeled out in front of the TV cameras last night, for we all knew just what was going to happen once Christmas and the New Year was out of the way, and sure enough he appeared in his usual dishevelled state and announced another lockdown.
Sadly, it is also the case that many people are now so beaten down by the pandemic they are simply going to accept whatever is announced without any disagreement or a battle.
It has been many long months now with no good news, and even the vaccines being rolled out are going to take weeks, well more like months to start being effective to arrive at some point in time when some form of normality can return.
“Work from home if you can” was what Boris was saying to us, which may be possible for some self-employed people, however those that cannot or even can do are facing huge financial losses, and with grants not being offered to most who work from home and do not pay business rates, they face a bleak future.
Look at how many people got a Bounce Back Loan back in May and June; I have spoken to many of them who tell me their loans have been used up or soon will be all used up and they desperately need more financial support to save their business and livelihoods.
Many are calling for an increase in the amount they can get as a Bounce Back Loan and/or an urgent roll out of whatever new replacement schemes that Rishi has been planning for quite some time now, and he has been planning them by the way.
Moving the end date of the Bounce Back Loan scheme was a farce let us face it, for with just Starling Bank now able to cherry pick the customers they want and with the only other lender offering new customers the chance of applying for a BBL that being Skipton (with their invoice overdraft type of facility not suitable to many) and with the other BBL accredited lenders saying f**k you to new customers, the number of newly approved BBLs will be at an all time low when the next set of figures are announced.
Rishi you need to get the next scheme(s) right, you should forget the banks this time, and some consideration needs to be put into whether SME’s want more debt too.
The “Pay as You Grow” option you announced for BBL’s, whilst still being put in place is not suitable for many, I will show my arse on the Town Hall steps if the majority of those who got a BBL have been able to “grow” their business over the last year or will be able to do for years to come at the rate things are going.
If you do go down the loan route Rishi, cut out the banks for they have without a shadow of a doubt taken the piss, and make loans available via the Government Gateway system or a newly set up similar type of system.
That way businesses can and will be able to apply without having to jump through hoops trying to get a bank account with an accredited lender, can also apply instantly and as the SEISS payment system proved, they will be paid out in a matter of days.
I still have people who applied weeks and months ago still waiting for their BBLs to be processed and the same with top ups too with banks like HSBC seriously taking the piss now (8 weeks ago today top ups were announced and most with HSBC who applied have not seen a sniff of their top ups yet), that is a disgrace all things considered and there is no shortage of people who still have not had a chance to get a BBL yet through no fault of their own.
If an SME wants to take on more debt then so be it but work out the figures this time to ensure they can access a decent amount of funding, and if it is to be a loan then set the interest rate at 0.1% not a higher rate, there will not be any need to if the Government is direct lending as there will be no banks with their snouts in the trough looking to make a quick buck out of SME’s due to the pandemic.
Tax free grants are much preferred obviously, but they only work if everyone can access them not only those who pay “business rates”.
Without more help and generous help, a high percentage of SME’s are finished. Oh, and Rishi, get your violin out for the banks who are now screaming they wont be able to offer the usual high interest rate loans to SME’s if more low cost Government backed loans are available, they can get stuffed for now.