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Coronavirus: South Essex businesses fear for their future

By Ellis Whitehouse @E_Whitehouse293 Senior Reporter

BUSINESS owners across south Essex fear they have been left in the dark over their future. 

The Government has announced plans to provide loans worth £330billion along with cash grants to keep businesses running as the coronavirus issue continues in the UK. 

They also announced a three-month mortgage holiday if homeowners need it. 

However, many firms still fear for their finances if they lose out on business because of the pandemic. 

Jay Bell, owner of Bell Wedding Cakes in Southend, said: “It won’t help anyone in the events industry that works from home. 

 “Calling our insurance this morning to be told that the virus isn’t listed so they don’t have to pay out. 

“Our only support is the three-month extension on our mortgage but even then we’ll be penalised with the interest on not paying for three months. 

“So many work from home businesses will be bankrupt. 

“I’m a bespoke cake designer, with no one ordering it won’t take long for finances to cease. 

“Yesterday the dreaded council tax landed on the mat with a week to pay.” 

Lorna Riches, who is self-employed in Basildon, said: “I’m confused over self-employed help as well. 

“From what I can make out I can get statutory sick pay which is around £70 a week. 

“My van rent alone is £200 a week so that’s a shortfall already without my rent which I’m also confused about.” 

Jo James, owner of Perfection Cleaning Ltd in Southend, said: “The mortgage gap is great. The private renting sector needs to be put on hold for everyone. 

“This would mean that all councils would not have to pay out any housing benefit payments, which means every council across the country will free up cash to pay for frontline staff. 

“Police, ambulance, the NHS and for those people who now have to start claiming job seekers. “ 

Suzanne Gloyne, manager of Southend Business Improvement District, said: “I’m happy to see the vital support being offered to businesses throughout the country but this needs to be clearly laid out, readily available and easy to apply for. 

 “Additionally I hope the Government will continue to be flexible with their support as business needs change with the developing situation in the next days, weeks and months.” 

Mark Ewart, 57, one of the owners of Apple Flooring Ltd in Basildon, said: “The problem is even if we borrow the money off the Government there’s no such thing as a free lunch and we will have to pay it back. 

“I hope that anyone who catches it recover and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

“We are going to take each day as it comes, we will postpone fittings, cancel meetings and customer services because it’s about protecting our brethren. 

“I hope we won’t need to borrow from the government. “It’s a hard one to call, We have just got to rock and roll with it.” 

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1 Response

  1. admin

    Ron.Villa 18th March 10:14 pm
    24 Lorna Riches, who is self-employed in Basildon, said: “I’m confused over self-employed help as well”

    What is there to be confused about? The Tories are giving no help to the self employed and are leaving you to fend for yourselves. Millions will go bust. So much for the party of the entrepreneur hey? They are the party of big business only.

    Last Updated: 19th March 2:55 am

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