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Number of Firms at Risk “Growing Every Day” as Omicron Spreads

By Jon Munnery
17 December 2021

The number of businesses at risk of entering insolvency or liquidation is growing every day as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreads throughout the UK.

That’s according to the president of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith, who has been calling for the government to provide more financial help to companies in crisis.

Omicron’s arrival has resulted in a huge increase in cases of Covid in recent days and the government has responded by reintroducing various restrictions on personal and business-related activities.

Meanwhile, consumers have become more cautious in their day to day lives and in terms of how and where they spend their money.

Given the importance of the Christmas period for so many businesses, there are concerns now that the spread of Omicron and the downturn in spending activity in December will leave a growing number of companies in real financial peril heading into the new year.

“Many of these firms, who have survived nearly two years of challenging trading conditions, are now seeing their vital festive income melt away in front of their eyes,” explained Baroness McGregor-Smith in a statement.

“A great number of sectors have been impacted by these restrictions already and the number of firms at risk is growing every day,” she added.

The BCC has called for the government to reintroduce the furlough scheme for sectors that are being particularly badly hit by the sudden rise in Covid cases and the restrictions that have been made necessary by the arrival of Omicron.

Full business rates relief for retailers and a return to the emergency 5 per cent VAT level for hospitality and tourism businesses are among the requests being made of the government by the BCC.

The lobbying group also want to see more grant funding made available to companies that need help to survive the winter.

The advice of the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 is that any company directors that are worried about potentially running out of money in the coming months should seek expert support in dealing with those issues sooner rather than later.

Jonathan Munnery
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert
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