The UK government have badly let down small businesses that operate from flexible workspaces.
There are thousands of small businesses in the UK that operate from flexible workspaces (coworking, serviced offices and hybrid offices that offer both private and shared workspace). Majority of them are in limited company format with 1-10 employees. They pay an all-inclusive office rent (business rates included), staff salaries, corporation tax and most of them even collect VAT for HMRC.
As most of these businesses are in the services sector, Coronavirus has undoubtedly affected them as much as any other. Many are facing imminent closure, putting a number of jobs at risk and the owners’ life-long hard work virtually comes to nothing.
These businesses have no access to the Chancellor’s Small Business Grant, just because they are not registered for business rates; not entitled to the Self-employment Income Support Scheme because most of them are operating as limited companies and the owners are not entitled to 80% salary support unless they completely stop operations.
These are the same people who have worked hard tirelessly over many years to build their businesses, who are now effectively being shut down, by seeing demand for services and income evaporate, leaving them facing claiming Universal Credit and food banks as their only recourse to feed families and pay their bills.
We are asking the current Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF) to be urgently reviewed, to include small businesses that operate from flexible workspaces, and hence, pay business rates indirectly. Help us to seek justice for you and our customers.