As the government sets out plans to ease the lockdown and get businesses back to work, the UK’s small firms are grappling to interpret new guidance as they access emergency funds, prepare to re-employ furloughed workers and plot their next move.
In England, those who cannot work from home have been advised to return to their workplaces from Wednesday. However, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are maintaining tighter restrictions, adding to the confusion.
Businesses that plan to reopen will have to restructure their operations to adhere to social distancing and protection guidelines. However, the bigger challenge will be trading through the coming recession — which the Bank of England predicts will be the worst for more than 300 years.
Claer Barrett, the FT’s personal finance editor, and Andy Bounds, the FT’s enterprise editor, will be hosting a live video Q&A on Tuesday May 12 at 12 noon UK time to hear directly from FT readers and viewers. You can post your questions at the foot of this article.
The government’s package of rescue measures for businesses and the self-employed will insulate some of the shocks as firms prepare to reopen. But how will business models be shaped by the new rules of the economy?
If you are a business owner, we want to hear your views about proposed lockdown-easing measures for your sector.
How are you reshaping and adapting your company in preparation for the “new normal”?
What are the challenges that your business will have to overcome in the short term?
As you consider the financial impact and cash flow projections, do you think the financial support that’s been offered so far is going to be sufficient to see you through?
To watch live and join in the debate, you can view the video that will be embedded in the story above or watch via the FT’s YouTube channel or LinkedIn page. Post your comments and questions for Claer and Andy to answer in the comment field below.