Small company directors have fallen through the cracks of the Government’s coronavirus business support measures to date
The coronavirus outbreak has raised immense challenges for businesses, but it has also seen ingenuity come to the fore.
Already, firms have won plaudits for repurposing production lines, quickly coming to the aid of stretched health services. The Government, too, has shown an ability to respond with speed, and the unprecedented job retention scheme has doubtless prevented many redundancies.
It would be churlish to ignore the support that has been provided for businesses, but there is a gap when it comes to those for whom ingenuity is second nature: entrepreneurs.
Directors of many of the country’s smallest companies have unfortunately been falling through the cracks of the Government’s otherwise substantial measures.
These people don’t fit the “fat cat” image that the word director sometimes conjures up. They often aren’t earning a spectacular amount, despite putting everything into their work. They might employ a few people, maybe one, or maybe none. In some cases, they have put a lifetime of effort into the business – whether that’s a small architects’ practice, a professional photography outfit, or an interior designer.
Many of these directors take only the bare minimum in PAYE salary; as their income is entirely dependent on the business they drum up, and can vary widely from year to year, a fixed salary doesn’t make sense. Instead, they take income as dividends, only when they make a profit and don’t have to retain funds in the business.