New policy on financial support eligibility needs rethink – cleaning firm boss

AXING a number of sectors from the list of industries eligible for financial support in the next stage of the exit from lockdown has shocked one cleaning firm.

PA image (29282114)
PA image (29282114)

It was announced on Wednesday that, based on analysis of which sectors bounced back quickly from the 2020 lockdown, support measures would be adjusted.

There is now a narrower list of businesses who are eligible to receive support once the Bailiwick moves to Stage 2 of the exit from lockdown.

While hotels, bars, restaurants, beauty salons and most non-essential retail are included, businesses like advertising firms, construction firms, gardening companies and estate agents will have to rely on trading to pay staff and cover expenses.

Cleaning services are also not included, which director of Premium Cleaning Services Ltd Sam Matuzele said was quite a shock.

'After the first lockdown, clients still did not want domestic cleaning services for a while, I think there was still nervousness around having other people in your home,' she said. 'I'm sure people will still have those concerns in Stage 2.

'We offer domestic, commercial, end of tenancy and window cleaning, but at the moment we've only got about one or two one-off jobs a day, and with over 40 staff, that's not even nearly enough.'

Commercial cleaning has pretty much come to a standstill for the company as the vast majority are working from home and offices are empty.

More than 40 members of staff are usually dedicated to domestic cleaning, going from job to job. If that does not pick up in Stage 2 when the company is not able to claim financial support, it will be a concern.

'Also, after the last lockdown, lots of people found themselves in financial difficulty and cancelled cleaning jobs,' Miss Matuzele said.

'[The new policy] is not quite fair, and I don't think it's the right approach.'

However, the situation for recruitment agencies appears quite different.

One local expert said business had actually been booming, and joint managing director at Situations Jenny Mitchell describing operations during lockdown as 'business as usual'.

'We’re continuing to register candidates via video calls, carrying out all the usual checks and giving thorough interviews, and we are arranging interviews for them for the wide variety of vacancies that we have on our books.'

Placements are also being made, too, with candidates accepting roles from a range of positions.

'Our clients are registering new jobs with us on a daily basis so in short, we really are as busy as always,' she said.

However, all of Situations' clients are office based, mostly in the finance sector and some commercial sector companies, so business is pretty much as usual for them as well.

'We’re more than aware that this isn’t the case for many local businesses who haven’t been able to operate at all, or until just recently, such as the building trade, hospitality, child minders and even professional dog walkers, so it’s quite a different story for them and we feel deeply for them,' Ms Mitchell said.

As with most companies, lots of staff have had to find the work/home life balance again, as well as some juggling remote learning while the schools are closed.

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