One of our members, Jonathan Lawson, chief executive of Channel Islands and West Country based brewer and retailer Liberation Group recently undertook an interview with trade publication Propel and had the following to say about his concerns regarding the governments support for businesses:
My key concern rather than about any specific elements of support, is whether the government really understands business and whether it really understands hospitality, how it works and what it actually needs. What I mean by that is it has done different things, at different stages, and I just don’t mean support, but also around communication or lack of it, or timing of it, that really makes you scratch your head. If you really understood how business works and how it needs information in a timely fashion, even if it’s bad news, that’s fine, I can deal with that, but then there is the amount of second guessing you have to do because you know what you will get is lastminute.com and leaked, and what you get is that lack of understanding how business works.
It has even wasted money at times on support that had it actually asked business about we would have said may not work. The Job Support Scheme that kind of got pushed back and then the furlough scheme was brought back, was not a well-thought through piece of work, with a real lack of business and how it operates, and how we employ people and lead people. Matt Hancock has got a phrase that he uses in his briefings, ‘don’t blow it now’. Well I would say the same to the government, don’t blow all the support you have already put in by actually thinking the job is done. Anybody in business will tell you, particularly start-up businesses and entrepreneurs, the next six months are going to be really hard as we reopen. Rishi needs to really understand we need his help and support to get back up and running so we don’t have businesses that limp over the line, reopen and then can’t keep going.Jonathan Lawson, Chief Executive, Liberation Group