UK’s smallest businesses fight to survive the coronavirus crisis

A low-rise building in a trendy part of east London bears testament to the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus crisis on the UK’s smallest companies.

The building’s central atrium has a series of doors leading to its 98 offices and workshops, but many are locked and the blinds on windows pulled down.

It highlights how some workers will never return to Brickfields, the building in Hoxton owned by Workspace, a FTSE 250 property company. About 10 companies that were tenants have either left or are due to leave, while another eight have cut the amount of space they are using in the building.

However Brickfields is far from a ghost town: many companies in the building have so far survived the crisis because of emergency government support, and a few are thriving amid the pandemic.

Businesses have made good use of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s menu of assistance, led by the

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Debt may be cheap, but the UK’s poor productivity will cost us dear | Business

The strangely easy agreement between economists of right and left that the chancellor should set aside concerns about Britain’s rising debt levels still holds seven months after the first Covid-19 lockdown was imposed.

Thatcherite free-market thinktanks sing the same carefree song as Keynesian academics when debate turns to the size of this year’s public spending deficit. There are differences in tone and it goes without saying that all would want money spent wisely, but their efforts focus on competing proposals for growth.

If only that were true inside the Tory party, be that members or backbenchers. Listen to what they say about the economy, and it is like the 2008 financial crash never happened. Public sector spending is still being likened to a household’s finances, where the aim must be a balanced budget.

Even worse, the household analogy has another group of subscribers and they sit inside the Treasury.

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