The Federation of Small Businesses in Dorset has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for a five-point support plan for small firms impacted by the latest wave of COVID-19 restrictions.

The organisation says the current approach to lockdown grants in England is much less generous and is not covering the huge and increasing costs.

The letter urges Rishi Sunak to commit to maintaining existing support schemes for as long as the business disruption continues, and calls for five specific national support measures.

  • Small Business Cash Grants – a second round of one-off grants of £10,000 through the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF), plus targeted grants of up to £25,000 for small firms in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
  • Revenue Loss Scheme– a German-style scheme to reimburse small businesses for the financial impact of a significant loss in custom.
  • Directors Income Support Scheme – a taxable grant for directors of limited companies calculated at 80% of three months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500.
  • Help for more recently self-employed – an extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme which would help around 300,000 newer self-employed people who were left out of previous SEISS rounds.
  • Emergency loans extension – greater financing ability for those who have used their allocations through Bounce Bank Loans, extending the period before repayments begin.

FSB Development Manager for Hampshire, Dorset and Isle of Wight, Nicola Bailey said: “Fresh restrictions have brought renewed disruption and financial pressure for the many small businesses affected in Dorset.

"We believe the time has come for a second round of small business cash grants to match those in the first wave lockdown back in the Spring.

“Some had to close their doors at a few hours’ notice during what should have been the busy run-up to Christmas.

Many will have filled their stockrooms, only to have their ability to sell the stock taken away suddenly.

“These businesses have already faced months of on-off disruption and lost revenue, many have already taken out loans. They need a new level of assistance to match the new level of restrictions forced upon them, to allow them to survive the period of vaccine roll-out.

“Small businesses are at the heart of communities and the economy, and account for 60% of private sector employment in the UK. The future economic recovery will depend heavily upon them.

“All of this comes at a time when many small businesses are also having to navigate the UK’s new trading relationship with the EU as the transition period ends.”