UK: Business Advisers Call For Foot And Mouth Hardship Fund
Last Updated: 4 May 2001
Article by Mr Richard Morris

Business advisers in London are urging the Government to set up a means tested hardship fund for all businesses changed by the foot and mouth outbreak especially in areas badly affected such as Richmond.

A survey of members carried out by the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICA) found that agricultural hauliers and suppliers, hotels, guesthouses, and leisure and tourist attractions in London were suffering a major slump in trade.

The aim of the survey was to identify the most appropriate forms of financial assistance required to help businesses survive the current crisis and sustain viability in the longer term.

Options which attracted the greatest support among chartered accountants who advise businesses affected by the foot and mouth outbreak were:

  • a means-tested specific foot and mouth hardship fund
  • 100% rebate of business rates
  • Government contribution to loan/overdraft payments for a specific period
  • a one-off subsidy payments of 10% of turnover

Grant Jones, deputy chairman of the LSCAs Turnaround Finance Group said a wide range of businesses needed urgent financial support.

"A ten per cent subsidy of turnover would provide short term help with their financial difficulties," he said.

"Business rates are a significant part of their overheads, and while traders can apply for reductions if turnover is affected and they have no savings to draw on, a full rebate would make a big difference".

Mr. Jones added that while there were schemes in place to help farmers, other businesses were suffering from a lack up support and representation.

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