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Wage Subsidy Is About Jobs – SME’s Also Need Support

The aim of the two-week wage subsidy extension will at best keep employees in jobs, but much more targeted support is needed to revive businesses wounded by the second lockdown and even worse, locked out of their livelihoods, says Auckland Business Chamber CEO, Michael Barnett.

“The wage subsidy is not a lifeline for business owners. It’s about employees. The objective is to help employers pay wages and keep jobs,” he said. “Access to any subsidy needs to be easy. The 40 percent drop in revenue criteria for the wage subsidy extension is cumbersome.”

“It would be more helpful to provide other support direct to SME’s struggling to manage reduced cash flow, weakened balance sheets, recurring overheads, depleted funding lines and badly shaken confidence.”

Mr Barnett said business needs direct support to give them the hand up to restart their recovery, stopped short by the move to Level 3, and give them a fighting chance to continue to support the livelihoods dependent on their sustainability in the local community and nationally.

“Smaller businesses and service enterprises must be allowed to open. They can be trusted to be responsible, accountable and capable of complying with all alert level health, safety and social distancing requirements just like big operations. Instead, so many caught in this lockdown are consigned to no man’s land by the roll of the dice as Government picks winners and losers of what and what does not in their reading constitute essential and permissible operations regardless of providing the same range of goods and services.”

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