Within in twelve local authority districts in Kent, 25,377 businesses have been identified by the councils as within the scope to receive either the
Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) scheme; or
Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund (RHLGF)
By the 3rd May, 19,938 companies had received grants, totaling £241 million, meaning 72% of the grant funding received by all twelve councils had been paid out.
Post Covid-19, business for Kent companies is going to be incredibly slow and, unavoidably, deeply inefficient. And that means it will be loss making. How long and how many of these grants will keep the 25,000 plus companies going is anyone’s guess.
This demands difficult decisions of the government. They have a duty to decide if they are supporting jobs and business or banks and landlords. But as yet they have not made any indication of their awareness of the need to make this decision, let alone suggest what they will decide.
As a result the crisis facing business in the county and the country is growing daily. It may now be getting some support now – which is enough to keep it furloughed – but the idea that this support will be sufficient to ensure that many businesses will survive the restart from lockdown or ever have the capacity to repay the borrowing that they have taken on is ludicrous.
Business, and with it jobs, can only recover from where we are now subject to three conditions.
One is they need more capital. Only government can supply that. Alas it is not doing this but it should. And conditions should be attached to this capital injection. But at the moment the Govt remains silent on these issues.
Second, overheads must be reduced: that means rent and bank financing cost reductions with all the consequences that gives rise to. Again, silence on this issue too.
And third, the way we consume things will change significantly and this will need to be managed as our efficiency, and so our ability to produce, as well as to access goods and services, changes. And that is an issue we haven’t heard anyone talking about to date, but it’ll have to be addressed.
We are nowhere near addressing the business side of the crisis in Kent and elsewhere as yet. And the business casualty rate is going to rise the longer we wait. We would have thought this was clear by now, but evidently not to those who have to take those decisions. We do so hope they make the decisions to help businesses and jobs here in Kent & elsewhere real soon.
The Shepwayvox Team
Journalism For the People NOT the Powerful