In business, we make decisions on facts; if the facts are lacking, you test & measure. If the data isn’t there, you wait to make decisions, and you delay, you pause while the KPI (Key Performance Measure) becomes available.

Most of the thousands of SME business owners who have heard me speak will testify to  my views on how to prosper. The decisions we need to make to drive our businesses forward. The methods of obtaining a commercial advantage. The areas of opportunity that many companies miss. Or too swamped with the pressures of the day to day to make the most of the opportunity.

So to examine the UK Conservative governments actions, the shared western democracy panic as the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic hit. Would have been premature.


Keeping your business open

With the exception of some non-essential shops and public venues, we are not asking any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.

However, you should encourage your employees to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so.

Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.

See the full guidance on work.

Many UK SME businesses are misunderstanding what the government instruction is… relating to COVID 19

All companies can carry on working, and the direction is that people should not breach social distancing. So Retailers, Pubs, Restaurants and Businesses that necessitate people to meet, Theatres, Clubs etcetera, should not open.

Remember that deliving your food or product to the customer is not only OK, in many ways for businesses it’s A unique opertunity. First you learn who and where your customers reside and secondly the delivery person, drives afficency as the customer will be available to receive the order.

newspaper journal shopping

You can, however, trade if you can protect the public, your customers and perhaps most importantly, your employees.

Consider social distancing, don’t have teams travelling in the same vehicle. If you can work from home, do so, so clerical duties can continue. (more…)

On Thursday the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) complained of a “nightmarish” experience for business owners that have already tried to seek help from lenders.

The finance ministry said it will ban lenders from requesting personal guarantees for loans under 250,000 pounds — one of the FSB’s demands — and will make operational changes to accelerate approvals.

Banks have now been banned from requesting personal guarantees – which allow them to take a director’s property if they cannot pay funds back – on loans under £250,000. Most high street lenders have already promised to do this following a backlash but the government will now force all of them to act.

The government has also removed a requirement for businesses to demonstrate that they have no other means of accessing funding in an attempt to widen the scheme.

There have now been more than 130,000 enquiries from companies for the loans, according to new data from UK Finance.

But only 983 businesses have had their finance approved, with around £90 million of loans.

Companies trying to apply for the loans said banks had been demanding the guarantees and charging double-digit interest rates after the first interest-free 12 months.

The Treasury said all viable small businesses affected by coronavirus will now be eligible for the scheme and they will not have to offer any proof they have looked elsewhere first.

Mr Sunak also offered a lifeline for mid-cap businesses.

About 5,000 companies had been previously been too big for the loan scheme – which is capped at firms with turnover of £45m – and too small for Covid Corporate Financing Facility, which helps multinational companies.

A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme which will provide a government guarantee of 80pc for loans of up to £25m to firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m.

More here

Kate Andrews

Oxford Economics predicts a quick post-virus recovery – with one big caveat

Oxford Economics predicts a quick post-virus recovery – with one big caveat<img class=”ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–fit-crop ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–loaded” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”Oxford Economics predicts a quick post-virus recovery – with one big caveat” />
Credit: Getty
Text settings


Britain is midway through a deep recession: of that there is no doubt. But what next? Oxford Economics has today been one of the first to offer an answer, predicting a V-shaped economic recovery (sharp economic downturn and sharp economic revival) and near-complete economic repair. It is, of course, a guess: all forecasts are. But it’s one worth looking into in a bit more detail. All published economic forecasts pre-Covid-19 (including those accompanying the Chancellor’s Budget last week) are defunct, so this is an early test – one that factors in the Government’s policy of ‘social distancing’ and the profound impact this has on business as usual.

Oxford Economics has replaced its estimate of modest GDP growth of one per cent to a prediction of a fall of 1.4 per cent. Short-term growth has been slashed, now estimated to fall by three per cent in H1. And economic volatility will be with us for a while longer, as the combination of public health advice, working parents now looking after school-age kids full-time, and further hits to service sectors all take their toll on the economy.

<img class=”ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–fit-bounds ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–loaded” src=”data:;base64,” />

But unlike the 2007-08 crash, the economy here is crouching, on government instructions. Unlike during a normal downturn, we do not want people out and about, spending money and increasing economic activity; we want them out of restaurants, out of shops, keeping their distance from others. So the question is how high the economy is capable of standing later on, when things return to some level of normality. Oxford Economics says quite high: they forecast it will skyrocket with 3.7 per cent growth next year, returning to fairly familiar growth rates – albeit slightly higher – in 2022 and 2023.

Its base prediction: that between the monetary and fiscal stimulus on offer so far and historically low oil prices, Britain’s economy will have favourable conditions when it’s allowed to get up and running again.

But there is one big caveat: this modelling assumes that Covid-19, in historical terms anyway, is a short-lived phenomena which is tackled fairly quickly. This supposes that the Prime Minister’s estimates of ‘12 weeks’ to ‘turn the tide’ on the virus are largely correct, and we can crawl back towards normal economic activity in the second half of the year. In truth, no one knows how long this will last. This is an unprecedented situation, and a lot of the companies that will collapse during the crisis wont come back.

Oxford Economics notes that its previous studies regarding the impact of pandemics on the economy show that activity is ‘delayed’ rather than ‘destroyed’, which supports the V-curve narrative, that we can spring into action as soon as the immediate threat of the virus is eliminated. But just as this is not a normal recession, it is also not a normal pandemic. Most pandemic modelling is about flu (and it factors in a vaccine arriving in six months) but Covid-19 is not the flu, and a vaccine could be 18 months away. Nor do we know if Covid-19 will come back in a second or even third wave, as Spanish Flu did. In the worst-case scenario, it could mutate, making our public health response far more complex and expensive. There are many, many other variables.

But variables could work in our favour. A test to discover if a person has had Covid-19 (and should then be significantly more immune) looks to be delivered imminently: a test to see who has antibodies might release workers back into the economy more quickly.

So: still much uncertainty. But I suspect Oxford Economics will be the first of many forecasters to predict a V-shaped recovery.

<img class=”ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–fit-crop ResponsiveImage2-module__real-image–loaded” src=”data:;base64,” />

Written byKate Andrews

Kate Andrews is The Spectator’s Economics Correspondent