Coventry businesses will play their part but self-employed need support

The Chamber of Commerce has urged the Government to turn its attention to supporting the self-employed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire say companies will continue to play their part in tackling the Coronavirus after the Prime Minister announced tougher measures to ensure more people stay at home to reduce the spread on Monday.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the business community was facing huge uncertainty but would do all it can to support the national effort.

She said: “The latest announcement from the Prime Minister to limit people leaving the house only when absolutely necessary is a major step and is another challenge that businesses are ready to tackle.

“Over recent weeks, there has been a huge amount for business owners to take on board and these new measures place further restrictions on all of us.

“However, businesses are ready to support the national effort and we, as a Chamber, are here to help companies through it.

“The Government has made several announcements over the past seven to ten days to offer help to businesses in this very uncertain period and we are here to help them tap into that support.

“As we have been saying over recent days, it’s important that firms can access the Government’s financial support package quickly and easily in order to give them the breathing space they need.

“We would also urge the Government to clarify which businesses can continue to operate as normal and those which must close or work only from home.”

The chamber, which has been representing the concerns of companies from across the region during the outbreak, also said the Government must turn its attention to supporting the self-employed as it looks to cushion the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It has been in regular dialogue with regional bodies as well as speaking to Government, via the British Chambers of Commerce, and the Bank of England.

Ms Bennett said: “There is no question that there is a gap in terms of the help that has been offered to the self-employed and freelance business community.

“We would, therefore, urge decision-makers to look at measures that will offer those businesses similar support and reassurance.

“As ever, we’d encourage businesses – no matter how small or large – to get in touch with the Chamber and our team will be able to listen to their issue and help them access any help available.”

For more information or support, contact the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce on 024 7665 4321.