1.4m jobs could be lost from small businesses

Sabby Gill, Sage managing director, called the findings of the report “gut wrenching” with “thousands of individual stories of people whose livelihoods and passions are under threat behind the stark statistics”. 

But he added that as business have adapted, opportunities to boost productivity through digitalisation had been created. 

Sage said SMEs could be helped by being encouraged to invest in technology with measures such as tax breaks.

The company also called for encouragement for people to start new businesses, more training supported by the apprenticeship levy, and helping SMEs increase their foreign sales by extending the new Export Academy for the tech sectors to other sectors.

Warnings about mass job losses among SMEs came as the events industry warned it faced 30,000 positions being wiped out unless the Government gives clear guidance on how and when the business can restart.

The warning comes from the Events Industry Alliance, the body that represents companies organising exhibitions and trade fairs.

According to the alliance’s calculations, if events cannot be held for the rest of the year it will deliver an £8bn hit to the UK economy.

It also warns that unless the industry is up and running again soon, 60pc of companies in its supply chain will not reopen when the job retention scheme to fund wages of furloughed staff ends in October.

Unlike most other sectors, the events industry has been given little idea of when it can get back on its feet after lockdown measures were relaxed.

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