The coronavirus lockdowns implemented by the British government will force at least a quarter of a million small businesses to shut down for good if they are not bailed out by the taxpayer, business leaders have predicted.
Over the next year, at least 250,000 are expected to go under, according to a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The number of firms saying that they are on the brink of collapse is the highest since the beginning of the economic crisis caused by the Chinese coronavirus and the ensuing draconian restrictions foisted upon the public.
The figures do not represent the number of businesses which are hoping to avoid collapse by freezing their operations, laying off staff, or taking on significant debt in order to stay afloat.
Of those surveyed, 23 per cent of small businesses have reduced the number of employees in the last quarter, alone, representing a ten per cent rise over the beginning of last year.
Some 14 per cent of small businesses reported that they will be forced to slash the number of people they employ over the next three months.
The number of small firms predicting that they will see their profitability decline over the next quarter has also reached an all-time high, with 58 per cent fearing profits will go down.
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The national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, Mike Cherry, said: “The development of business support measures has not kept pace with intensifying restrictions. As a result, we risk losing hundreds of thousands of great, ultimately viable small businesses this year, at huge cost to local communities and individual livelihoods.
“A record number say they plan to close over the next 12 months, and they were saying that even before news of the latest lockdown came through.”
“There are meaningful lifelines for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, which are very welcome as far as they go. But this Government needs to realise that the small business community is much bigger than these three sectors,” Cherry added.
“This Government can stem losses and protect the businesses of the future, but only if it acts now,” the FSB chairman concluded.
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The dire warnings from small business come as the latest national lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to plunge millions of workers back into furlough schemes.
Coming almost entirely at taxpayer expense, the furlough programme has already cost the UK Treasury over £46 billion and is expected to only grow higher.
The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) predicted that the closing of schools could result in five to six million people being forced into taking the government handouts to survive, up from three million at the end of the year.
In an interview with Breitbart London in October, a British businesswoman said that she “100 per cent” blamed the government for her business collapsing, saying that the lockdown “killed” her business and made her lose “everything I have”.
“It’s killing the economy, it’s killing people, stopping people being able to visit people in hospitals, in care homes, it’s damaging every aspect of life,” she decried.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 23, 2020
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