As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit the UK the government message was clear:
Stay Home Save Lives and Protect the NHS
The message was succinct and crystalline. I found it clear, concise and unequivocal. It was, however, far too late.
Stay Alert, Control the Virus and Save Lives, the updated government message is less clear and ambiguous. I’m not sure how you stay alert and control the virus to save lives. Perhaps I’m being harsh but in my view the following would all help:
- Earlier action
- Better planning
- Less conflicting messaging
- Leading by example
These are the current guidelines which we need to follow as much as possible:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate. Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
Coronavirus cliff edge
For most businesses the global pandemic and country wide lock-down was disastrous, due to economic activity dropping off a cliff. Anyone running a business would have heard the tills stop ringing literally overnight.
The government was slow to heed the warnings spreading from China, across the globe and into Europe. The government was slow to lock-down, and in my view failed to prepare and manage the crisis. The economic impact was always going to be bad, but it seems to me we have the worst-case scenario of a high death toll and a serious economic impact.
Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
When you look at the infection rates and deaths in the UK compared with other countries it makes woeful reading. https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus
The were some positive reactions to the crisis including a new appreciation of the front line staff in the NHS and social care workplace. Will our re-evaluation last?
The Chancellors pandemic response to assist business is another positive. The Coronavirus Business Impact Loan Scheme, Job Retention Grant Scheme and Bounce Back Loan Scheme were all excellent initiatives. All of these have helped businesses survive the pandemic and employees avoid redundancy. Here is a link to the UK Government website for business support relating to Coronavirus (COVID-19) https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support
HM Revenue and Customs have rolled out the Job Retention Grant Scheme effectively and at very short notice. The banks haven’t performed well with CBILS and BBL, but both schemes have benefited businesses, whilst unfortunately leaving other businesses in limbo. See our article from March about business banking here: https://abkuk.com/why-open-a-business-bank-account/
There is no such thing as a free lunch however, and the effectiveness and cost to the country remains to be seen.
Finally, a big thank you to all the key workers from all at ABK Cloud Accounting. Stay safe.