CIMA has suggested five key things to help out the self-employed, sole traders and UK small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic:
- Set up a new quick-to-access “Coronavirus Loan Scheme” for self-employed and sole traders. CIMA’s Andrew Harding explained: “Based on the principles of the student loan and maintenance scheme, we should give self-employed, sole traders and SME owners access to an immediate state-backed loan of up to a maximum of £30,000 with 15 years to pay it back.”
- Offer a basic three-month income grant for self-employed and gig economy workers who are struggling with work and income losses, to shore up their cashflows, pay the bills, and spend in the economy.
- Immediate reduce VAT to 15% to encourage spending, keep businesses afloat and boost the economy in the short-term.
- Consolidate communication channels for businesses, SMEs, self-employed and individual consumers. There is a worry that businesses and individuals will be overwhelmed by the flow of information. A single central hub website with new separate helplines for business advisors such as accountants, and one for individuals at HMRC.
- Extend the business rate holiday to all SMEs and suspend evictions to help struggling businesses preserve their cash flow and keep supply chains open.