Business chiefs ‘confident States will listen to firms’

COMMERCE chiefs have expressed confidence that the government will respond to businesses’ needs with lockdown support as firms switch to home working as 2021 looks set to remain ‘challenging’.

Wendy Dorey, vice-chair of the Institute of Directors’ Guernsey branch, said its members represented many different sectors and types of organisations – and that the impact of Guernsey’s lockdown would vary tremendously for different businesses.

Wendy Dorey, new vice-chair of the Guernsey Institute of Directors.. (29159910)

‘No doubt business leaders will be drawing on the lessons we all learnt last year, and we hope that the swift action taken by the Civil Contingencies Authority will lessen the impact on the economy in the medium to long term,’ she said.

‘Some businesses will require similar support to last year and we are confident that the government will listen and respond to business needs.

‘What is also certain is the need for a reliable broadband connection. This second lockdown has once again highlighted how critical good digital connectivity is to our economy – and we look forward to hearing the States of Guernsey’s plans for improving this infrastructure over the political term.’

The IoD vice-chair also said the business group will be supporting its members, as last year, with its soundboard programme. It pairs members with relevant business leadership experience with directors who would value a sounding board during these challenging times – with more information available at the website.

A Confederation of Guernsey Industry spokesperson said: ‘We are in regular dialogue with senior civil servants, along with CGi members and are aware that a support package for local businesses will be confirmed sometime this week.

‘The CGi welcomes the States’ immediate action in supporting all areas of the economy given the latest set of restrictions that were announced over the weekend.’

Alan Sillett, president of the Guernsey Hospitality Association, said: ‘We are very grateful for the support received to date via either payroll co-funding or the grant scheme. The current support packages for the accommodation sector expires at the end of March.

GHA president Alan Sillett. (29159928)

‘We have a good working relationship with the [States] Business Support team and Economic Development, and will continue our dialogue to help shape appropriate measures going forward so that the islands accommodation businesses survive and are ready to re-open when restrictions are removed.’

He continued: ‘We applaud the decisive action taken on behalf of us all here in Guernsey, and we must all work together to ensure the safety of the island population. We are hopeful that any financial support afforded to other sectors helps those businesses stay afloat.

‘We will await more in-depth guidance on what part we can play to support the CCA, and also urge all our members to support the published guidelines.’

Tony Mancini, chair of the Guernsey International Business Association, which represents the finance sector, said: ‘During 2020, financial services firms showed their resilience and flexibility with their workforce able to adapt quickly to home working; no doubt most firms have been able to implement their plans quickly and efficiently since receiving the news about the lockdown on Saturday.

Guernsey International Business Association chairman Tony Mancini. (29160814)

‘This flexibility does not mean the finance industry is immune to the challenges that all businesses are facing and therefore we expect 2021 to be another challenging year across the sector.’

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