Jersey Chamber of Commerce has accused the Chief Minister of being 'highly misleading' and making ‘blatantly not true” statements when claiming business support measures were in place.
They have also said that there has been ‘no practical change’ and ‘not a single pound has yet been released to help employees keep their jobs’.
One week ago the Chief Minister received a letter from 19 business leaders in Jersey. It accused him of an 'abhorrent' lack of leadership.
Now, those same business leaders are saying not enough has been done.
There has been absolutely no practical change in the situation; not a single pound has yet been released to help employees keep their jobs. We know from our Chamber members that businesses are failing and laying off staff. This sits in stark contrast to the measures already being delivered in UK and France, and the sense of initial uncertainty and frustration amongst Chamber members is now turning to anger. The leadership of our Government has distanced itself from the community and it is fast losing legitimacy in the eyes of many islanders.
The Chamber of Commerce say that they believe procedures to support businesses are being worked on but currently 'no urgency' is being shown.
Funding to support businesses is likely to be given out in April.
The plans announced are hardly bold, but despite the Chief Minister assuring the States Assembly that ‘a £180m package of measures was in play’ this is blatantly not true and highly misleading. They were not in play and are not accessible to any business still and provide no sense of Government support. The bank loan scheme, grant aid scheme and Covid-19 Payroll Support Scheme are announcements that, as yet, offer no practical help to anybody, despite several weeks of waiting. The cash flow measures such as deferment of Social Security and GST, not due for payment until the end of April, are also of questionable practical value right now.
The Chamber recognised that the Government has considerable amounts of work to do, but are saying not enough is being done.
Every hour another business is closing its doors and laying people off. The economic impact of this crisis is looking very worrying and is perhaps as frightening for many as the virus itself. It is affecting the lives of every Islander - everybody is worried for their future.