Jersey’s government announces £180 million aid package for businesses

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This includes support for sole traders and small enterprises, as they manage the ongoing cashflow difficulties presented by coronavirus.

These proposals will supplement the initiatives announced last week, including deferring the payment of social security contributions and the deferral of GST payments.

The government is looking at a range of long and short-term arrangements, necessary to maintain the Island’s future economy and prosperity.

These measures, the government says, will support continued employment across the economy and maintain key economic infrastructure through a period of unprecedented challenge.

Other measures will be announced over the coming days.

Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said: ‘The government’s central aim in managing coronavirus is to follow a community-focused approach, led by detailed medical advice, designed to protect our community and save lives.

‘Support for business is support for people, protecting jobs, lives and livelihoods. We will stand firmly behind our economy, our businesses and their employees.’

The Jersey Disruption Loan Guarantee Scheme will be introduced to support new bank lending, through loans and overdrafts, to businesses through a Government of Jersey guarantee arrangement.

It is recognised that banks may be reluctant to extend new credit to otherwise viable businesses while the economic outlook is so uncertain, and the guarantee scheme, with an initial value of £50 million, will remove that uncertainty, the government says.

A new Special Situations Fund will be established with £50 million of equity. This will be aimed at larger financial positions where the company can be clearly identified as delivering a wider public good or strategic purpose.

Both measures will require approval of the States Assembly.

The Emergency Council has also agreed that consideration be given to a small business emergency fund, to provide additional support to the self-employed and the very smallest of businesses. A further announcement is expected in the coming days.

Work has already taken place to increase freight supplies to the Island.

Telecoms providers have enhanced their data capability, for all Islanders at no extra cost, bolstering the strength of Jersey’s mobile and broadband networks, which will ensure we are prepared for the growth in home-working, necessary to protect the most vulnerable in our community.

The government has also already announced that where it is a landlord to a local business (directly or through a government-owned company), it will consider payment deferrals.

And, the Government will introduce and fund a scheme that allows small businesses to access a free initial consultation with qualified legal or accounting professionals. This is addition to the support and funding for Jersey Business to provide enhanced advice, that has already been announced.

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