The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the government to provide more financial assistance to businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ahead of the Budget on 3 March 2021.
The business group has outlined support measures required to help protect UK businesses through the spring. It has called for:
- an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) beyond April to the end of June
- a lengthening of repayment periods for existing VAT deferrals until June 2021; and
- an extension of the business rates holiday for at least another three months.
The CBI has also called for an announcement of details of the successor of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Tony Danker, Director General of the CBI, said:
'The Budget comes at a crucial time for the UK. The Government's support from the very start of this crisis has protected many jobs and livelihoods, and progress on the vaccine rollout brings real cause for optimism.
'But almost a year of disrupted demand and extensive restrictions to company operations is taking its toll. Staff morale has taken a hit. And business resilience has hit a sobering new low.
'The Government must once again stand shoulder-to-shoulder with businesses to underwrite support for the duration, helping viable enterprises to last the course.
'Many tough decisions for business owners on jobs, or even whether to carry on, will be made in the next few weeks. If the Government plans to continue its support then I urge them to take action before the Budget which is still more than six weeks away...
'The rule of thumb must be that business support remains in parallel to restrictions and that those measures do not come to a sudden stop, but tail off over time. Just as the lifting of restrictions will be gradual, so must changes to the Government's sterling support to businesses.'