Government could support businesses with CJRS and rates relief refunds

With pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide more support to businesses in the latest lockdown, the Midlands managing partner of national audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe has suggested the Chancellor could recycle the repayments of financial support made by many major businesses.

Johnathan Dudley of Crowe
Johnathan Dudley of Crowe

Johnathan Dudley, who is also national head of manufacturing at Crowe and is based at Oldbury, said: “In the very early days of the pandemic, the Government committed huge sums of money to support packages such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

“Many businesses – particularly larger organisations – have found they have fared better than they originally anticipated. As a result, by September last year, the UK Government saw volunteer repayments of CJRS totalling over £200 million.

“In addition, some major supermarket chains have repaid the business rates relief they accepted from the UK Government to help to deal with the pandemic – totalling more than £850m.”

Mr Dudley pointed out that this is an unexpected windfall for the Government and, across all sectors of business, involves substantial sums that are now back in the public purse.

“There has been a lot of comment in the media asking for more help for businesses in need, but few suggestions as to where the money should come from.

“Repaid funds could be earmarked specifically to offer more targeted support to businesses most adversely affected by the lockdowns, of which there have now been three on a national scale. These funds provide a further option to the government, to offer financial support to business, in addition to the existing extensions of CJRS and the loan guarantees schemes.

“It is a time for creative thinking. At Crowe we are committed to helping our clients understand how they can support their businesses through the next three to six months, until a significant number of the working population have received their vaccinations.”

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