AUTHOR: Jurga Zilinskiene
DATE: March 24, 2020
Guildhawk’s Plea to Boris Johnson
It is crucial that everyone, including businesses, respect the Prime Minister’s call to stay at home to curb the spread of COVID-19. Remote working was implemented across our teams at the start of last week, and, at the end of the same week, before we secured and vacated Guildhawk’s HQ beside the Bank of England, we wrote and delivered our own plea to the PM.
The current government are doing an admirable job when it comes to British business, with the £350-billion COVID-19 financial aid package a great lifeline. However, it’s imperative that this aid money reach the right businesses and that it does so very quickly. These businesses need cash flow to survive, save jobs and ramp-up again quickly when the world comes out the other side of this crisis.
You can find the full text of our letter to the PM here, and I have included our main recommendations below, which focus primarily on the scope and speed at which support is needed, as well as the people most qualified to advise on its delivery.
- Support is needed now:
- Many good companies cannot afford to run for even weeks without cash coming in.
- Businesses are making decisions in real time, and redundancies are happening right now.
- It isn’t just the leisure, retail and hospitality sectors that are suffering:
- The complete collapse of business confidence is hitting almost everyone.
- This is apart from a small number of sectors that are profiting or even profiteering.
- Help must reach the businesses that really need support; almost every business will be affected so help needs to be far broader-based than we’ve seen announced so far.
- The government may be relying on a banking sector that we know just doesn’t work:
- The British Business Bank especially is bureaucratic, slow-moving and just doesn’t get business.
- The instinct of most banks will be to protect themselves, and profit from other peoples’ problems.
- This needs very clear directions to banks, or government needs to hand control over emergency funding to a hands-on Board that’s genuinely working in the best interests of the economy and real business.
- We strongly recommend setting up a working group of real SME leaders right now, to advise No 10 directly:
- Not the usual establishment figures but real business people.
- Putting No 10 directly in touch with people who actually know business rather than just think they represent business.
“… it’s imperative that this aid money reach the right businesses and that it does so very quickly. These businesses need cash flow to survive, save jobs and ramp-up again quickly when the world comes out the other side of this crisis.”