Robson Laidler believes the Government has done a good job supporting many businesses throughout the Covid-19 crisis, but we now need greater clarity on measures put in place to help SMEs survive the deluge of debt so many will face in early 2021.

One of the biggest issues facing the North East in 2021 is that of how debt deferred in 2020 – such as VAT and income tax – is going to be treated by the government and their agencies.

On top of this many SMEs have borrowed via bounce back loans and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which have 12-month repayment holidays, and so payments will start in the Spring of 2021.

Talking about the issue, our MD Graham Purvis said: “Without clarity many businesses will understandably be taking drastic action now in order to minimise the risk of being unable to pay the likes of deferred Income Tax, VAT and their Bounce-back loans at the time due. The most likely impact will be higher redundancies than might be necessary.”

We are calling on the government to take action now to introduce measures to address this worry and to provide support that goes further.

Robson Laidler, along with the UK200 Group has produced a paper, which details recommendations on several financial problems affecting SMEs as a result of Covid-19. This paper has been sent to, and is currently being considered by, the government.

Measures being recommended include:
• Consolidate certain debts into a single business support loan owed to HMRC.
• Establish a threshold for loans repayments based on a criterion such as: average profits of the last 3 years, size of business and size of loan.

Robson Laidler is calling on SMEs to get behind their proposals by writing to their local MP to encourage them to support the introduction of the measures.

They have produced a template letter for SMEs to use. Both the letter and a copy of the paper including their recommendations is available from: Gemma Graham: or can be downloaded here:

Draft letter to send to MPs