The last few days have seen a number of bold measures announce by the Government, to support UK businesses through the current coronavirus crisis.

The Federation of Small Businesses has largely welcomed the scope and scale of the support offered, which includes £330 billion worth of commercial loan guarantees, a complete moratorium on business rates for those in the retail, leisure or hospitality sectors and cash grants of up to £10,000 for small firms that already qualify for small business rates relief.

However, the support initially announced for sole traders and the self-employed has been less generous – amounting to £94 a week. In desperation, many have attempted to apply for Universal Credit after and have been turned down.

As the crisis deepens, we are hearing from thousands of self-employed people – including hairdressers, bakers, childcare providers, taxi drivers and café owners. These are people who have worked hard to build up their businesses, paid their taxes and helped the economy to grow. Yet a large number of them are now in dire straits.

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Whether forced to close down or facing a huge drop-off in customer numbers, their income had dried up, while their overheads and bills continue to stack up.

That’s why our next priority is to work with national and local government to secure a stronger package of support for the nation’s 5 million self-employed. There are encouraging signs – with pledges from Prime Minister Boris Johnson to “stand behind” them. For this to happen, we need the government to set out and implement new and effective support measures as rapidly as possible.

It is also vital that that the banks play their part. Billions of pounds of loan guarantees came into effect this week and these must be passed on without delay.

The impact of the coronavirus outbreak crisis is threatening small businesses right now. That’s why all available support must be given to them. Now.