Hope springs eternal during Covid-19: made redundant during lock down - but Jay Lee sets up a new business

Hope springs eternal during Covid-19: made redundant during lock down - but Jay Lee sets up a new business

After more than two months of lock down the British economy is in freefall. Thousands of people have been furloughed, thousands have been made redundant or simply let go and hundreds of businesses have gone into administration or simply called it a day. Covid-19 has been an economic disaster while on the human side it is arguably even worse. Depending on which figures you believe more than 30,000 people have died from the Covid-19 virus with many more dying every day and with some estimates suggesting as many as 60,000 have perished.

Back to work

However, the daily (and very depressing) figures from the authorities charting those who have become infected and those who have died are steadily decreasing with a possible consistent zero figure by September. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared that in June retailers and various other business and activities can resume including a slow return of children to schools. Businesses around the UK are giving a sigh of relief as the end of the crisis may finally be in sight.

“We have had a number of members who say they are optimistic about the return to business,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit, “and expect a positive Q3 and Q4 to the year. It is partly due to a desire to catch up with lost time and business but also due in some part as there may be less competition due to Covid-19’s collateral damage.”

June marks the return to normal

Outdoor markets and car showrooms can reopen on June 1, while non-essential retailers can throw open their doors from June 15, 2020. With the shops open in the high streets and retail parks of the UK, citizens allowed to exercise and when they want and to shop wherever they like it seems on the face of it June is the month Britain will return to normal. But not so fast.

“The handbrake of social distancing is a problem,” observed Ian Carrotte, “as shopping is supposed to be a social and enjoyable experience. But with social distancing it is a chore. Having to wait in an extended line outside a store in all weathers for perhaps 30 minutes to go inside and then be hurried around a one way system before queueing for ages to pay is not fun.”

Queue for a pint of beer

The two metre distancing rule is also a handicap for pubs and cafes with customers expected to wait patiently in line with a queue going out of the door and down the street in order to buy a pint of ale. Publicans have suggested a one metre rule as is the case in France as it would double the numbers of patrons in their hostelries and increase a return to profitability.

“There’s an old saying that’s as true today as it was in the past: people buy people,” said Ian Carrotte, “Zoom is fine for some things but a sales rep needs to meet a buyer in person. But with restrictions can you imagine a rep entering a reception area dressed as though they were entering the Chernobyl exclusion zone? We can only hope the restrictions are quickly dispensed with as the virus disappears.”

Despite these reservations there is nationwide appetite in the business community to get Britain back to work. The British Chamber of Commerce’s BCC Director General Adam Marshall said: “Businesses will be taking a safe, proportionate and risk-based approach to returning to work, in close consultation with their staff. For many this will be an entirely new way of operating as they apply guidance to the practical realities of their business.”

Jay Lee

There are some pretty damning stats out at the moment suggesting a massive rise in unemployment and one in three businesses failing to reopen. However there is always an upside of every downside. The BBC’s Lora Jones on the business desk interviewed Jay Lee from Surrey who lost his job during the lock down at a large UK bank as a mortgage adviser when he had a light bulb moment and decided to set up his own business with uAcademy an online mortgage adviser training scheme. She reported he said: "It's almost been a blessing in disguise. I was stuck in the same role for a number of years, but now I can work for myself and hopefully secure a better future for my family. Even when the pandemic started getting more serious, we were told not to worry about our contracts. We were given full reassurance that our jobs were safe. There's a lot of interest in online learning at the moment. People want to learn new skills, maybe something to help them with a new career."

Ian Carrotte said: “Many firms start up during recessions as downturns are opportunities. New markets open up and if you can survive in a recession then when the economy gets going again things will only get better.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel - while at the moment there's a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach - ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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