Business West Policy Manager Claire Ralph said: “Business will welcome the Government’s latest intervention to stave off mass unemployment within the South West region, but will no doubt be concerned about the limits to extended support.
“Most notably, the Job Support Scheme, is considerably less generous than its predecessor, given that employers will pay at least 55% of employees’ salaries from 1 November.
“The Chancellor has opened this up to all sectors, rather than offering the more tailored support for those which have disproportionately affected that many including Business West have been calling for.
“This is a concern given aerospace, the night-time economy and cultural and heritage industries contribute so much economic output and provide hundreds of thousands of jobs to our region. The Chancellor isn’t attempting to target support to where it is most likely to be needed.
“Extensions to the Self Employment scheme and the government backed loan schemes are welcome to assist cash flow for struggling businesses, and longer repayment terms for loans and tax deferrals could be critical to prevent insolvencies in those with the fewest reserves to cope over the winter.
“Overall the scale of today’s announcement was very much smaller than those made in July and March, but is overdue and we hope it will help some employers and businesses make it through to Spring 2021.”
Nick Abell, chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), said: “We welcome the new range of measures which the Chancellor has introduced which will help employees of businesses in all sectors as well as reduce the expected high numbers of redundancies.
“The number of firms in Coventry and Warwickshire which have received support from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme which the Government had already introduced highlighted the need for this kind of support and it is good news these have been extended until the end of the year to enable even more companies in our area to benefit.
“Although the extension of the VAT reduction until March is welcomed particularly by the hospitality and leisure sector, this needs to be looked at in conjunction with the threat to remove the UK as a tax-free shopping destination from December 31 this year which is a major draw to attract international visitors.
“Throughout Covid-19, the CWLEP has worked closely with business support organisations, our local authorities, and district and borough councils throughout Coventry and Warwickshire to provide the information and help businesses need to access these schemes, and that will continue.
“This is a time when businesses need to adopt new practices and new ways of working and this kind of support will help them to lay the foundations for their recovery as we re-build the economy.”