Rishi Sunak must help businesses get the money he's made available, says ANDY STREET

I remember hurriedly gathering the daily newspapers from my desk and heading down to a small café around the corner from our HQ.

As I pored over the business pages I realised that I was faced with a stark choice: I could either start slashing costs and laying off staff, or I could seek to ride the storm and maintain the essence of our brand.

My team and I finally decided to bank on the latter, holding faith that Britons would seek reassurance in reputation.

Ultimately, through grit and determination we eventually managed to steady the ship.

More than a decade on, the UK is faced with another economic crisis, and it is that same grit and determination businesses will need to see themselves through.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and his team at the Treasury have moved quickly to put the measures in place to help businesses in the short-term.

Although there are still some gaps – the support for the self-employed who pay themselves through dividends, and support for the social economy sector are obvious examples – the support, be it grants, loans, or the furloughing scheme, are pretty comprehensive.

But the Government, in tandem with the banks, has got to get this money properly flowing through as soon as possible. 

Cash flow is king, and businesses can only stay afloat and keep their staff employed if they can get their hands on the money on offer.

The economic shock of Coronavirus will certainly be harder than 12 years ago, but it should not be as long lasting. 

We have already hibernated much of the British economy, and now our minds are turning to how we re-boot it once the pandemic has begun to subside.

The Government will need to play its role, helping businesses with liquidity, supporting workers and their families, and providing a fiscal boost to the economy. 

We have seen already this week the confirmation that HS2 construction will proceed, which will be a great boost to the construction industry in the country.

Business leaders will also need to rise to the challenge, looking after their employees, taking decisions about how to get their revenues flowing again as swiftly as possible, and communicating confidently and clearly to their employees, suppliers and customers.

These are incredibly dark economic times, but just like in 2008-2009, if we can keep businesses alive over the next few months, our British businesses and their workers will rise to the challenge and find our way back to economic growth and prosperity once more.

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