The government really is backing business

By Ian Mean, Business West Gloucestershire Director

By 4pm yesterday afternoon,140 000 firms had applied for the government’s job retention scheme to allow companies to retain staff.

Credit where credit is due – it is a phenomenal result.

After a weekend of criticism over the supply of PPE to front line nursing staff fighting the coronavirus, the government deserves credit over the establishment of the company furlough scheme which opened online at 8am.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak addressed the 5pm government press conference and said:

“As of four o’clock this afternoon, over 140 000 firms have applied and the grants they will receive will help them pay the wages of more than a million people.

“A million people if they had not been furloughed would have been at risk of losing their jobs. Firms applying today will receive their cash in six working days.”

Earlier in the day, Innovative firms in the South West hit by the coronoavirus  received a cash boost from the government with the Chancellor’s announcement of a new £1.25billion package.

This money will benefit innovative venture-capital backed businesses.

Here in the South West we have many of these really innovative companies in the tech to life sciences sectors.

The bail-out plan includes a £500million loans fund for high growth companies and £750 million in loans and grants for small firms whose focus is on research and development.

Announcing the new bail-out, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

“Britain is a global leader when it comes to innovation. Our start-ups and businesses driving research and development are one of our greatest economic strengths, and will help power our growth out of the coronavirus crisis”.

Delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank and launching in May, the new fund will provide UK-based companies with between £125 000 and £5million from the government with private investors at least matching the government’s commitment.