Government urged to protect firms if they are forced to quarantine again

Tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg has called on the government to help businesses if they are forced to lockdown a second time.

The UK is slowly relaxing the lockdown, as public places like cinemas, museums, pubs, restaurants and hotels are set to reopen on 4th July.

However if there’s a local outbreak or a second wave, Blick Rothenberg said businesses that shut should be able to claim temporary relief, like short-term working capital loans or through a targeted extension of the furlough scheme.

Andrew Sanford, a business advisory partner at Blick Rothenberg, said: “The government have made no provision for companies that are being encouraged to go back to work and then find that they have to lock down because of a local or regional emergency.

“The government have been generous in helping most areas of business and are now encouraging people to get back to work.

“However little thought has been given to what happens if a company goes back to work and then finds it has to quarantine staff once again.

“As we move into the next phase of measures to prevent outbreaks, some businesses will be impacted, either because they are required to close because of an outbreak at the workplace, or because the local area is placed into short term lockdown.”

Sanford added: “Companies have had to make serious decisions over recent days about when to go back, how they are going to operate and whether to take people off furlough. Many of them have little idea about what income they can expect in the near future.

“Having made that decision in the interest of their company, the staff and the country, they need to feel assured that if they are required to close again, that the Government will look after them.

“Businesses will need temporary relief, such as the provision of short-term working capital loans, and the targeted extension of the furlough scheme in order to negotiate the adverse impact of local restrictions. For these businesses the furlough scheme qualifying conditions should be relaxed.”