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Extra flexibility for bank loans

Extra flexibility for bank loans

Friday 27 March 2020

Extra flexibility for bank loans

Friday 27 March 2020

Local businesses looking for financial support are being encouraged to get in touch with their banks, as well as the States, as the available fund "is not big enough to stand behind a whole economy".

While President of Policy & Resources, Deputy Gavin St Pier, said the States were doing all they could to keep the economy afloat, he asked that anyone in need of help speak with their banks about what would be available to them.

"We'd strongly encourage individuals and businesses, however big or small, to be engaging with their banks," he told Express. "The banks have been fantastic in this crisis so far; they've engaged very openly with government. They have been given the flexibility they need from their regulator, the Bank of England, to enable them to lend more through this crisis, so there is a willingness there and there is an open door to have that conversation."

Gavin St Pier coronavirus

Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier.

The States are offering a range of financial support schemes though, including an initial £5million hardship fund set up for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet and a payroll co-funding scheme, which will pay 80% of employees' wages.

Further schemes have been announced in recent weeks, with more on the way.

"We're about to finalise, hopefully fairly soon, the loan guarantee scheme, so we will be supporting the banks in lending to businesses," added Deputy St Pier. "There is a lot of help out there.

"The reality is, this is an enormous economic shock and loss of demand for the entire economy, so every business will be affected in one way or another. Government is not big enough to stand behind a whole economy, but it is doing everything it possibly can to ensure that we are all well positioned, so that we can recover quickly.

"That is another part of the strategy, to ensure we don't lose economic capacity, so that when things do turn round, we have got people to be able to drive those businesses forward. We can't sugar coat it. This is not going to be financially pain free for a huge chunk of our community."

pay wage money salary wages

Pictured: A range of schemes have been put in place to help employers and employees.

Many of Guernsey's businesses have had to close their doors until further notice, while the island goes into lockdown. However, those that are essential to the community are able to remain open. They are listed here.

However, businesses which are shut to the public can still make sales online or over the phone and can carry out home deliveries, as long as they adhere to social distancing measures and no more than two people are gathered together at one time.

Takeaway services whose kitchen preparation space allows for social distancing can still operate, but the food cannot be collected - only delivered.

Gardeners can still visit local houses, as long as they are in a group of no more than two and they don't meet with any occupants of the household. But, cleaners should only attend house visits if it is really necessary and provided no members of the household are in the property at the time.

Similarly, tradespeople such as plumbers and electricians can undertake work but only if it is essential and no more than two people are required.


Pictured: Essential works can still be carried out.

 "If you need to leave your home, is it essential that you do so?" asked Deputy St Pier. "It's not about whether it's essential to your business, it's about whether it's essential to the community. If you are a plumber and you get an emergency call from somebody living on their own with a pipe burst, then clearly that is an essential journey. If you just think you can carry on working quietly on your own on a building project, that clearly is not essential.

"It's a different mindset that everybody needs to adopt. It is a common sense test of looking at it from the perspective of the community, not 'me and my family'. It requires us to think as one, rather than thinking just for ourselves."

Any businesses looking for support from the States can email to register their request, while a new guidance document has been set up for individuals.

Further information and advice is available here.

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