The Furniture and Furnishings industry believes that the Government has not understood the causational impact of the Covid 19 crisis on an industry serving the Hospitality and Retail sectors as well as the Office, Education and Care sectors.
As a c.£20 Billion industry employing 339,000 people in manufacturing and other service and supply chain roles it is both a big employer and contributes substantially to the Exchequer. Despite repeated and extensive appeals to the Government to expand the support for businesses in our sector we are deeply disappointed in the response thus far.
Employers in our industry are predominately SMEs and have been particularly ill-affected by the Covid outbreak and lockdown. In this mini budget the Government has sought to further mitigate the impacts on Hospitality and Retail businesses but has not understood the equal causational impact on the manufacturing and services to those sectors.
Jonathan Hindle the Chair of the BFC stated “whilst we applaud the efforts of the Chancellor in the Job Retention Scheme from which many in the sector have benefited, the targeted VAT cuts and previous Business Rates exemptions need widening to include our industry which has been equally impacted”
With many businesses now forecasting sales in the second half of the year to be down by up to 40%, substantial redundancies will likely be inevitable unless there is further government support.
The BFC will again be writing to the Chancellor and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy calling for additional support for our sector including:
- Extending the furlough scheme to the end of December.
- Extending the hospitality VAT reduction to furniture and furnishings manufacturers
- A business rates holiday for furniture and furnishing manufacturers to the end of the year.