Simon Robinson’s Viewpoint
13 August 2020
The Long And Winding Road
I trust all is well and you are finding your way through this ‘new normal’ way of life. So much has happened since my last Shipshape introduction and at times it seems there is still a mighty long road ahead of us. Conflicting government messages and a painfully slow easement of lockdown measures present continued challenges in getting the economy back on its feet.
Not all the lockdown ramifications have been negative, though. As well as the global benefit of fewer business miles, it’s been inspiring to see a greater sense of community spirit and purpose. It’s also enabled businesses to rethink and show some agility (see these stories from Uniquefruit and Panorama Antennas), while giving individuals a better work-life balance.
The eyewatering volume of grants, loans and other schemes the government rapidly introduced to help weather the storm has been impressive, though some will feel they have missed out. The sizeable and sudden injection from Treasury coffers will of course need to be repaid at some point, but it’s important to make the most of the support available.
Keep on running
A number of organisations we’ve spoken to have been surprised by the rapid progress lockdown forced them to make. Employees’ adaption to homeworking has been widely praised in many sectors, with presenteeism making way for greater trust in people to get the job done in the new and more flexible working day.
Technology projects previously ‘stuck’ or stalled on corporate agendas were rapidly prioritised and ticked off. The success of implementing change quickly has helped organisations of all sizes to make sizeable advances – months and sometimes years ahead of schedule.
On a personal note, I’ve been impressed by the efficiency and collaborative spirit of the Shipleys team in adapting to the new working conditions. For now, we continue to work remotely but are very accessible via phone, online using meeting software such as MS Teams, Zoom and Skype and, of course, email.
When will I see you again?
A good case in point was the recent revival of our Godalming Business Club via Zoom. It was good to catch up with everyone and discuss some of the positives of the lockdown. The only thing that Zoom can’t do unfortunately is provide the bacon butties!
You can find a summary of the discussion here
We’ll be running another virtual session in September. To sign up, please email Charlotte at email@example.com .
Our offices remain closed at the moment but, provided there are no issues in the meantime, we’re hoping for a phased re-opening in the autumn. It would be great to return to proper meetings but our key consideration must be the safety of our staff, clients and contacts so we’ll have to stay virtual for now.
With a little help from my friends
For one of our key sectors, the recently announced £500 million Film and TV Production Restart Scheme from the government was definitely welcome news. This is a fund that guarantees to underwrite additional costs caused by Covid-19, which are unrecoverable from insurance. See more information here.
It’s clear, however, that many businesses will need continued help if the economy is to bounce back quickly. Some of the government measures deferred rather than removed tax obligations, and financing that bigger bill later on will require careful planning by businesses and individuals.
It remains a difficult financial time for many people. In the Personal Finance section of the magazine, we’ve given an overview of the latest developments and their implications for our private clients – a recent example being the Chancellor’s reduction in stamp duty to boost property sales.
We can work it out
The economic outlook is challenging and difficult times still lie ahead. Throughout Shipleys’ 84-year history the firm has seen many highs and lows in the economy but has remained resolute in our passion to help clients thrive.
Developments are continuing at a pace and we’ll continue monitoring and reporting them on our website here so you can access timely advice. For our charity clients, you’ll also find our latest charity update here.
Our team’s experience and expertise are here to support you – together we’ll get through this.
I hope you find this Shipshape helpful.