IN response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Government put in place a huge package of support measures.

In most cases, they are giving small firms who are facing difficulties the help that they need, although there is always more that can be done. That’s why we are continuing to make the case for those small businesses that are ‘falling through the gaps’ and also highlighting how the various support packages are working in practice.

For example, the furlough scheme appears to be working effectively, with applications flowing, being processed quickly and payments made on time. However, given the speed at which all the new support packages were designed and implemented, it is perhaps inevitable that there would be some issues.

The furlough scheme has not been working well for directors of small companies who take part of their salary as dividends on profits. The grant schemes have not been working well for some tenants based in multi-occupancy premises, or those small businesses where the local council has incomplete information.

Thankfully, in order to reduce the number of small businesses that are falling through the gaps in support provision the Government is devising new initiatives, such as the Bounce Back Loan scheme. It provides loans of between £2,000 to £20,000, with no interest or fees for 12 months and with the whole loan amount guaranteed by the Government. Clearly this is much more relevant to smaller businesses.

Hopefully, along with improvements to the other support schemes, these will prove successful in helping small firms who are the backbone of the British economy to survive the current crisis.