One in four small businesses in London are considering redundancies due to the financial impact of Coronavirus, according to a new survey by the Federation of Small Businesses.
Responses from 350 London traders also showed that around a third of them had been forced to close since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, with 36 per cent saying they were not sure whether they can reopen.
Thirty-seven per cent said that due to the demands of keeping up with payments as business grinding to a halt, they have already made redundancies or are planning to. Seven in ten have furloughed staff to aid the survival of their business.
The poll comes after the News reported one restaurant and bar in Herne Hill, Cafe Provencal, had permanently closed its doors citing COVID-19 as the last straw after a fire and two floods.
“The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt right across the small business community, with thousands of small firms all over London fearing for their futures.
“The government has stepped-up with a huge range of support for millions of small businesses and sole traders, from income support schemes, to cash grants, to help with accessing finance and business rates breaks,” said FSB chair Michael Lassman.
“Policymakers now need to realise that the economy will not go from zero to a hundred overnight once we’re into the recovery phase.
“The crucial support that’s on offer needs to be kept under review, and adapted to reflect the new normal as we chart a course back to economic recovery.
“Small firms in London are struggling with many self-employed individuals omitted from government schemes and many sectors missing out on vital Grants and rent and rates support.
“We are calling on London landlords to support our tenants.
“The negative impact of losing businesses would be more people unemployed empty units that will be difficult to fill, as very few companies are seeking to take on leases at this time.
“We need to see Landlords working side by side with their tenants at this crucial time.”
Many small business owners are not entitled to use the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme as they are directors of limited companies.
Southwark MPs including Harriet Harman have called for the scheme to be extended.
It’s welcome there’s been extension of mortgage holiday & furlough scheme. But @RishiSunak when are you going to announce extension of self-employed scheme?
— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) May 23, 2020