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Help those who have ‘fallen through the cracks’, says IoD

Malcolm Cannon

Malcolm Cannon: ‘we need to see more consistency of key messages’

The Institute of Directors has added its voice to those calling for further government support for those companies and entrepreneurs who have “fallen through the cracks”.

It wants directors of small firms who pay themselves in the form of a dividend to receive the same support as furloughed self-employed and employees.

It would also like to have clarification on the duties directors can carry out while furloughed.

Banks should also be flexible and accommodating to get cash to companies as quickly as possible through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

“All lenders should follow the example of the banks who have dropped requirements for personal guarantees. Financial institutions should also avoid share buybacks and large executive incentive awards to make sure the money is going where it is most needed,” says the IoD.

There is also a call for grants to be extended to some of the smallest companies and start-ups that do not have premises, including those in co-working spaces.

Malcolm Cannon, national director of IoD Scotland, said: “Over recent weeks, there is no doubt that the UK and Scottish governments have taken the right steps and have done as well as they could have done given the circumstances.

“However, while both governments have acted quickly, for the benefit of business we need to see more consistency of key messages – both in terms of funding support and clarity on who qualifies as a key worker.”

An IoD survey has shown that seven out of ten directors believe the coronavirus outbreak posed a high or severe threat to their organisation.

Four in ten respondents had already contacted their bank about an emergency loan, while slightly more had contacted HMRC to defer tax payments. More than seven in ten have already seen demand for their products or services decrease, including four in ten who had seen a significant decrease.

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