Rishi Sunak urged to do more for Barking and Dagenham's small businesses
- Credit: PA
A business group has urged Rishi Sunak to do more for firms falling through the cracks of government support.
Barking & Dagenham Chamber of Commerce called on the chancellor of the exchequer to do more for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), sole traders and the self-employed.
President of the chamber, Jamie Banks, said: “We would like equality of treatment to be given, as a matter of urgency, to small and medium sized businesses which are being unfavourably treated if the business rates for premises from which they operate are paid by their landlords."
The borough's Chamber of Commerce is one of 12 from across the capital requesting help for small businesses in a letter to Mr Sunak dated Tuesday, January 12.
The government pointed to its £280 billion worth of support to protect jobs and businesses as well as the extension of its self-employed and furlough schemes to April.
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The chancellor also recently announced £4.6bn in one-off, top-up grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses worth up to £9,000 per property to help businesses.
Mr Banks explained many SMEs across London and the UK have either been required by government to close or have seen their income "seriously curtailed" as a consequence of Covid restrictions.
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He said: "These businesses are suffering financial hardship. Rent, utilities, support services, equipment lease charges, interest on loans, maintenance, security and other bills have to be paid even if a business is closed and has no income.
"Those businesses operating at far less than pre-pandemic volumes will be operating at a loss, because revenues are insufficient to cover wages plus the fixed costs of the business.”
He added that the government put together a package for business which provided support for many, but there are "clear gaps" which need filling to avoid a swathe of British industry and commerce either collapsing or being in too weak a state to be able to help the country's economic recovery.
"That is why we believe it is so important the chancellor addresses the matters," Mr Banks said.
The government pointed to its £7.4bn boost to welfare which includes relaxation of universal credit's minimum income floor for self-employed claimants.
The chancellor has said the budget is the right place to consider any extra measures.