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I’m angry!! There.. I’ve said it.

I wouldn’t normally make political comments on social media, but some aspects of how small businesses have been treated over the last six months just makes me mad!

I’m not criticising the support packages that HAVE been made available to businesses to help them through the pandemic… they’ve been excellent, but there are some horrendous gaps.

There’s an estimated 3 million businesses who employ an estimated 7 million people and who are completely ineligible for any form of grant. This includes freelancers, the newly self employed, and directors of limited companies who receive most of their income through dividends.

I’m in the latter category… I’m not a “tax dodger”, I’ve been paying my taxes for over 35 years with the records to prove it and yet the authorities seem to think it’s too difficult to ascertain whether the dividends I receive are from my business or from other investments and that I’m therefore a potential fraud risk. Odd, isn’t it… they have access to my tax records, my annual accounts and even my accountant who’s perfectly placed to validate where my earnings come from and yet, apparently, this information isn’t enough to avoid being regarded as a potential fraud risk.

So, like many other business owners, if I need financial support, the only option would be to take out loans.

I’m lucky…. I’ve been able to “pivot” my business, support my clients in new ways and launch new services which have enabled me to successfully navigate the last six months. It’s undoubtedly been tough but I’m back on track. Sadly some of my existing and potential coaching clients haven’t been able to do this and now face extreme financial hardship. For me to recommend that they now take on additional debt with no clear vision or plan as to how to generate the increased profits and cash to pay these loans back strikes me as professionally negligent. I can help them with the planning. I can help them refine and improve their sales strategies, but I can’t find opportunities for them out of thin air and I can’t, hand on heart, recommend that they continue to incur the cost of employing staff if they don’t have the revenue streams to support it.

Those accountant and SME clients I’m working with are seeing the results, and I’ll continue to do everything I can to help them rebuild and grow.

Ignoring the plight of the excluded businesses increases the likelihood that many of them will cease trading and their loyal and hard working employees will lose their jobs and yet the government continues to promote the message that they’re doing all they can to protect jobs.

The standard response to requests to help these 3 million “excluded” businesses is always a reiteration of what IS available, not what COULD, and SHOULD be done to plug these gaps in support. And with today’s announcement that larger businesses have retuned £200 million of Furlough funding that they’ve admirably decided isn’t required, there are no excuses for not using the available funds to support smaller businesses who really need it.

Oh… and it seems almost inevitable that there will be tax rises to pay for the support packages that are available, so the excluded who do manage to survive will be faced with higher taxes to pay for the support that they had no access to.

That’s just wrong on so many levels!

I’m angry! And I and my clients won’t forget this apparent dereliction of duty from those who should have a moral duty to support the entire population, especially when Rishi Sunak said at the outset that “no one will be left behind”.

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