A message from the Chief Executive

In the face of some very early signs of optimism this week from the health and scientific experts, it has been another challenging week for many businesses who are struggling to see any light at the end of the tunnel.

With further clarification emerging from government, the police and local authorities is welcomed, for some businesses it is still a daily challenge simply accessing the right information to enable them to apply for funding or other support.

This is borne out by the daily conversations we are having with local businesses and the results of the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker. The results of the tracker are being closely monitored by institutions like the Bank of England so please do complete the survey (which members should receive direct from the BCC – please let us know if you have not yet seen).

The key findings from last week’s tracker reveal that most businesses have not yet successfully accessed the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the grants for small businesses (being administered by local authorities.. We are in close touch with the councils to press for progress updates and would welcome your feedback.

The need to furlough staff has been in the news this week for all the wrong reasons but this should not undermine the real lifeline the scheme offers to both employers and their staff and the expectation is that numbers will rise significantly over the next week.

If you can spare 5 minutes, we really would value your feedback on the following:

• Have you (if eligible) been able to access the support grants available?
• Have you applied for an interruption loan (CBILS) and did you get a positive response?
• Have you a clear understanding of your workforce plans relating to furloughing?
• Are there any specific problems or gaps in the funding packages announced that you do not think have been addressed?

Finally, let me end on a positive note and thank all of our members who are providing some excellent support services as well as free advice and guidance to fellow businesses. The term “we are in this together” can often ring hollow but nothing exemplifies this more than some of the great examples we have seen and which we are sharing through our newsletters and social media.

Keep sharing your initiatives and your experiences with us via info@lancschamber.co.uk or call 01772 653000 option 0

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