Jersey’s business leaders are calling for “bold, courageous” measures to be introduced by the government as soon as possible to stop companies failing, and jobs being lost.
Economic Development Minister unveiled a £180m package of support measures for local companies yesterday to steer them through the covid-19 outbreak.
But those measures – which include backing banks to give loans and creating a ‘Special Situations’ fund – won’t come into force at least until they are debated and agreed upon by States Members next week.
Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Carnegie says that’s too long to wait for some, amid a rapidly changing situation.
Video: The Economic Development Minister, Senator Lyndon Farnham, unveiling the package at a press conference.
Noting that “it has already been identified that much more will be needed”, she said: “The message that is coming very clearly from our members and non-members is that the crisis is here, right now and is unprecedented in scope
“For many, a business loan scheme that won’t be debated in the States Assembly until next week, and as yet has no detail about how vulnerable businesses can access money now, means that otherwise viable businesses will fail and jobs will be lost by six more days of wait.
“For the Government this means no GST, no Social Security and a major impact on future tax receipts. For our community, friends and families it means worry, stress and hardship.”
Pictured: Chamber President Jennifer Carnegie.
Chamber is therefore calling for the support package to be introduced “without delay”, as well as “additional, bold, courageous” measures.
“Keeping the lights on for local businesses, big and small, will be far more cost-effective than having large numbers unemployed and needing to develop a long-term recovery package,” Ms Carnegie said.
While she acknowledged that Jersey was behind other countries in terms of the virus’s spread, she warned that Jersey was at the “forefront of the unfolding economic recession."
“Put simply, we are at the very edge of a state of emergency for the Jersey economy and like other nations, our government must act quickly and decisively to put greater support into our future.”
It comes as more than 3,500 islanders have signed a petition calling for more support for self-employed businesses throughout the covid-19 pandemic.
"They need to support local shops, trades and other small businesses more or end up losing a large portion of small independent businesses, many will not survive and will end with many losing more than a business, it will be their lively hoods possibly their homes," the petition reads.
Ministers are expected to provide an official response to it within three days.
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