• Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Business

UK businesses demand support as Covid-19 hits economy

The Shambles, one of the most famous streets in York is almost empty as the UK adjusts to life under the Coronavirus pandemic on March 18, 2020 in York, England (Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images).

By: Radhakrishna N S

BRITISH manufacturers demanded an immediate deferment of tax and social security payments.

They warned the UK government that thousands of layoffs were imminent as the coronavirus crisis hits the economy.

Stephen Phipson, Chief Executive of Make UK, said on Thursday (19): “There are alarm bells going off right across the manufacturing sector with the prospect of substantial lay-offs looming.

“Order books are collapsing and this is creating immediate cashflow issues for companies which need addressing within days not weeks.

“The measures already announced by the Chancellor are welcome but, events are so fast moving that we need to go further.

“As such, we need urgent measures which will have an immediate impact on the ability of companies to stay afloat during this crisis and retain their staff.”

Britain’s manufacturers are calling for an immediate deferment of VAT, PAYE and national insurance payments as part of a package of measures, as the prospect looms of companies having to lay off thousands of skilled employees.

The group welcomed measures rushed out by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to help companies, many of which are facing virtual shutdowns in business, but it called on him to go further because the crisis was deepening so quickly.

The call was made on the back of distress signals it has picked up from manufacturers across the country over the last week.

“While the measures announced by the Chancellor on Tuesday were extremely welcome they will take some time to feed through into the system, whereas measures which will have a more immediate impact will help employers’ cash flow and enable them to retain staff,” Make UK said.

The group called for a ramping up of government money to support sick pay costs which was announced last week and for help paying the wages of workers who are laid off or put on short-time working, similar to schemes in France and Germany.

It also called for an extension of pension scheme valuation cycles and a longer period for companies to publish their financial accounts.

Make UK’s first quarter manufacturing outlook survey published on Monday (16) showed that even before the escalation of the Covid 19 crisis export orders had slumped and turned negative for the first time in three years, while domestic orders were enduring their worst run since 2015.

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