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Business secretary Alok Sharma is looking at providing further financial assistance to small firms forced to shut down again at short notice due to localised lockdowns.

Putting individual areas of the country into temporary lockdowns should they experience a spike in COVID-19 cases is part of the government’s strategy, but it is concerned about how local economies in the north of the country will cope should smaller firms be forced to cease trading again due to this.

For that reason, Sharma is advocating lifeline grants that would kick in for small firms that find themselves in that position, enabling them to avoid lay-offs. These would be based on a scheme created during the national lockdown, which saw companies in the hospitality sector like restaurants and cafes claim grants worth a total of £11bn.

A recent survey of smaller companies conducted by the specialist SME insurance provider Simply Business found that 17% felt a second lockdown would be likely to kill their businesses, so it is easy to see why the government is looking ways to offer support.

Simply Business UK CEO Alan Thomas stated that all companies had been hit by the lockdown, but that smaller ones had suffered the harshest consequences and that many were dreading a potential second shutdown.

Whether this grant scheme happens or not, an option for small firms that are worried about the ongoing effect of COVID-19 is to speak to a small business accountant in Goole, or where they are based, about their debts.

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