Bank of England hears from small businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire

Bank of England

The Bank of England has heard from small business owners and the self-employed on the current Coronavirus pandemic and business conditions across Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull.  The online ‘roundtable’ event was organised by the Federation of Small Businesses and saw Graeme Chaplin, the Bank of England’s Agent for the West Midlands, hear from local business owners across a range of sectors.

Graeme provided an update on the economic outlook following the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee voting to hold interest rates at a historic low of 0.1%, having cut rates twice from 0.75% since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He also outlined the Bank’s latest scenario for the path of the UK economy in the light of Covid-19 alongside an overview of the support the Bank and the Government are  providing to small businesses.

Small firms at the meeting fed back on their experiences of the Government schemes. Many were supportive of the wide range of support it has already provided to small businesses, but recognised that some within the small business and self-employed community have struggled to access Government-initiated support. Feedback was also provided on the impact of Coronavirus with attendees detailing the tough time that has been faced and the ongoing challenges and practical considerations that will be encountered as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Rich Bishop, FSB WM Regional Chair  said “This was a welcome opportunity for FSB members to engage directly with the Bank of England and provide a small business perspective on the impact of Coronavirus. We all know how tough a time businesses have had in recent weeks with some small firms now fearing for their futures in the middle of the worst downturn on record. We covered a lot of ground during the call ranging from Government measures to impacts for small businesses locally particularly in sectors such as retail and tourism including for seasonal businesses. It is clear that there will be challenging months ahead as we look to safely re-open businesses and restart the local economy. We are grateful to Graeme for taking the time to speak to us, listen to feedback and gather evidence from the local business community to help shape future Bank of England policy work ”

Graeme Chaplin, Bank of England Agent for the West Midlands said “My meetings with the FSB are always highly informative.  The intelligence provided by FSB members is invaluable in providing the Bank with insights into the challenges currently facing small firms and the self-employed.”