COVID-19: Politics, Priorities and Collaboration

I hope that you, your families and work colleagues are all keeping as well as can be in the difficult environment which we all now find ourselves and that you are all adjusting to the new era of remote working.

Whilst I fully appreciate that there has been concern expressed from some IoD Jersey members, regarding the overall strategic plan for the island’s economy and the timely release of communications, since the Coronavirus situation has progressed, these are exceptional and challenging times for all concerned.

For this reason, I believe that it is imperative that now, more than ever, all of the stakeholders work together and collaborate for the benefit of Jersey Plc going forward and I wished to provide you with an update in respect of what has been happening from an IoD Jersey perspective, over the course of the last few weeks.

A significant amount of work has been and continues to be undertaken behind the scenes, in conjunction with the latest medical advice, by the Government of Jersey, business leaders and industry bodies to ensure that agreed initiatives are consistent with the requirements of all parties and will be certain to deliver the necessary support.

This has included my attendance at regular Government led Business Liaison Group Meetings, which have been held over the last few weeks, with representatives from all local business sectors in attendance, including hospitality, freight, retail, wholesale, utilities, finance and digital.

In addition to attending at these meetings (at which I have been able to express the concerns and points raised by the IoD Jersey Members), I have also been liaising closely with Jersey Business, in conjunction with my role as Head of Legal & Technical at Jersey Finance. This is so as to ensure that IoD Jersey is plugged in to all communications for our Members and the wider business community.

To this end, and now that the necessary financial injections into businesses have commenced, IoD Jersey will continue to support Jersey Business and Jersey Finance over the forthcoming months, with a number of initiatives which we have been working on together over the course of the last few weeks.

Specifically for our IoD Jersey Members, I have also been working closely with the IoD in the UK and liaising with the Government of Jersey, in respect of the implementation of some of the measures which have been implemented in the UK.

There is some very useful information on the IoD UK website (www.IoD.com)and a dedicated Coronavirus Support Hub has been launched. I would also encourage Members to view our new IoD Jersey website regularly(www.IoD.je) , where we have been ensuring updates and links to the latest information and initiatives from the Government of Jersey are available.

As the Government of Jersey has emphasised, it is doing everything it can to support all businesses, including sole traders and the smaller businesses. It is looking at a range of short and long-term arrangements being implemented, against a backdrop of maintaining a stable, economic infrastructure going forward for the Island.

These measures include a wide range of valuable and reviewable measures, to help businesses of all sizes, namely, a payroll support scheme worth more than £100 million which is now live and with online applications being submitted; GST and Social Security deferrals worth £80 million cashflow benefit to businesses; a loan guarantee scheme; protection for tenants; increased capacity to access legal and financial advice through Jersey Business; emergency funding for charities and forbearance measures on utility bills.

Last week, you will have heard that the Assistant Minister for Treasury and Resources, Senator Ian Gorst, signed a Ministerial Decision to launch Phase 1 of the Government Co-Funded Payroll Scheme (CFPS). The scheme will ease the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and employees by providing support of up to 27,000 jobs at a total cost of up to £101 million.

CFPS is an emergency scheme which aims to maintain employment industries which have been severely affected by the public health restrictions introduced in March due to COVID-19. That includes hotels, restaurants, bars, certain wholesalers and retailers, the fisheries industry, and hairdressing and other beauty treatments.

Businesses can now apply for Phase 1 of the scheme to claim for disruption caused between 20 March 2020 and 31 March 2020, using an online form. Detailed formal Guidance and application forms covering the operation of the scheme have also now been published and money will be paid to struggling businesses within a matter of days.

The information published on www.gov.je, outlines in more detail, the business sectors included and excluded in Phase 2 of the scheme and general information on how the scheme may operate. The Government is presently reviewing the operation and scope of phase 2 of the scheme and will publish more information on 9 April and I shall be in further contact thereafter.

IoD Jersey very much welcomes these new measures which it hopes will support continued employment across our economy and maintain key economic infrastructure through a period of unprecedented challenge.

I shall be in further contact once there is any update. In the interim, if any IoD Members need further information, or wish to feed back any concerns or raise queries, please do not hesitate to contact the team at IoD Jersey, by emailing [email protected]IoD.net, in the first instance. We are here to help and assist in any way we can.

Lisa Springate, Chair - IoD Jersey Branch

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