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Extended Support Announcement Welcomed

Today’s announcement by Minister for Small Business Hon Stuart Nash regarding an extension of support for businesses that continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic been welcomed by Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Leeann Watson.

This includes a change in the required revenue drop threshold from 50% to 40% for the wage subsidy extension, and it will be for 30 days within a 40-day period. This means an extra 40,000 businesses will now be eligible. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme application period has also been extended from 12 June to 24 July, which will enable eligibility for an additional 70,000 businesses taking the likely overall uptake for the extension to around 240,000 businesses.

Ms Watson says the announcement is "very positive news for business".

"News of this extended, targeted support will definitely be welcomed by many businesses in the Canterbury region, in particular for small business who we know have been hit hard by COVID. Through our communications with local businesses in Canterbury and the wider South Island through our Helpline, we have heard many calls for a lower threshold for the wage subsidy. We have also heard directly from businesses that have found the small business cashflow support a real lifesaver, so are pleased to see the application period has been extended to enable more businesses to apply."

Ms Watson say both policies will enable business some breathing space as they assess real levels of demand after getting back to Alert Level 1.

"This ongoing support enables businesses to take time to work through forecasts, understand the impact and get more certainty on their future.

"We know that many businesses were concerned that the pent up demand and backlog was pushing up their figures, giving them a false revenue figure for the last month which meant that they were just under the 50% threshold, but moving forward they were likely to see that demand even out.

"We are all of course hoping that the increased retail sales will be retained, however there are industries that will be well down on revenue for quite some time to come - particularly with our closed borders - and it’s important those vulnerable but viable businesses are supported through this period.

"We are also working with Government to ensure that businesses with owner operators are able to access support through the Small Business Loan."

Ms Watson says today’s announcement demonstrates the Government’s commitment to working with businesses to tailor their support.

"The Government has moved quickly with the wage subsidy and been open to listening to feedback from the business community, firstly with the targeted extension and now today adjusting the threshold, which certainly supports the feedback we have been hearing from our members. It shows a real willingness by the current Government to evolve their offering quickly to accommodate feedback."

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