Employee benefits platform, comments on the Chancellor’s new business support measures

“This is welcome news for small firms that are allowed to stay open, but have seen trade dry up because of local restrictions, such as businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sector.

“WorkLife’s Small Business Monitor report found that 73% of SMEs saw their income decrease or stop completely during the first lockdown, while 24% of retail and hospitality businesses were forced to shut down.

“We also found that 62% of small businesses expected their income to remain subdued for the following 12 months, so for many firms hit by a fresh wave of localised restrictions, their worst fears seem to be coming true.

“While the financial impact on businesses could be devastating, we mustn’t forget the damage it is having on their workers’ pockets. Of the SMEs WorkLife surveyed, 38% said their employees were worried about the impact of the first lockdown on their finances, while 32% said workers were worried about their salary reducing and the same percentage said staff were worried about their mental health. Following the latest restrictions, for many workers these worries will not have gone way.

“It’s clear it is going to be a tough winter for small businesses and their employees. Continued government help, such as the improved Job Support Scheme and new grants scheme, is vital. But employers can also help their employees by offering them benefits that tackle some of their worries, such as free financial advice and help to improve their mental wellbeing.”

Rob Marshall, managing director of WorkLife