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Home News The News Getting back to work with financial support package

Getting back to work with financial support package

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Thousands of companies have been taking advantage of an unprecedented package of UK Government support to protect jobs and support firms as they attempt to get back to business during the coronavirus outbreak.

As more and more companies continue to get back to work, we look at how the financial

support is helping firms across the nation to adapt, innovate and protect jobs.

Here are examples of how companies have been helped, and what support is available.





RACHEL HANRETTY, of Mademoiselle Macaron in Edinburgh, fell in love with macarons while living in Paris. After eating far too many patisseries, she enrolled at the Alain Ducasse cookery school to learn how to make macarons. She said: “They’re just so pretty. They’re so delicate. And they’re quite hard to make because there’s a lot that can go wrong.”

Once Rachel returned to Edinburgh and noticed a gap in the market, she decided to set up her very own macaron business.

She said: “I wanted to have that little bit of Paris with me. I focused on taste bud tourism, so when you eat these macarons you’re transported to the Champs-Élysées.” After nine months of trading from home and going to food markets, Rachel set up her first bricks-and-mortar store.

She said: “It was in the centre of Edinburgh, it had a view of the castle. It was beautiful.”

But since launching their online store in 2015, and realising that they could send macarons across the country, plus the fact that they had large bookings from both wholesale and wedding customers, the bricks and mortar became unnecessary

The company, which employs eight people, lost all their wholesale customers overnight due to Coronavirus.

Rachel said: “It was really scary. All the weddings, all the wholesale customers, and the bulk of our production disappeared. And then, of course, you have phone calls from people wanting to cancel future orders and refunds.

“We entered the cash flow situation whereby the wholesale customers stopped paying the invoices. And we’ve now got over £30,000 worth of overdue invoices.”

But, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Mademoiselle Macaron has started to see an increase in online orders. It’s thanks to the UK Government’s furlough scheme that her business has kept afloat. Rachel said: “The furlough scheme has been a real lifeline in this time of crisis. I asked people to volunteer for furlough. So the people who wanted to and were happy to, they were the first ones to go. I cried.

TASTY TREATS: Rachel Hanretty, below, has used the furlough scheme to keep Mademoiselle Macaron going.


“I just felt like I was stuck in this moral quandary. Do we keep going and safeguard the business, so there’s a business for everyone to come back to? Or do I shut down because I can see that this is causing people severe anguish? We managed to recall stock that was sitting in hospitality clients freezers. That is the only reason we survived. What you make, you keep in the freezer and you use when you need to. It’s not like it’s a cupcake, if we were perishable goods we would never have survived.”

Now everyone is back at work at Mademoiselle Macaron, they’ve had to be creative in terms of changing shift patterns and splitting the team in half, so there’s less contact.

“We have a big kitchen so the space isn’t the issue. It’s more that we wanted to keep the team safe,” adds Rachel.

Mademoiselle Macaron’s online sales have increased so much that they’re potentially in a position to hire more people on temporary contracts. Ideally, Rachel would like to help younger people and develop a training program with a college. “They’ve been so much more affected, and it’s just something close to my heart,” she said.


Help available to companies and workers

Here are some examples of the support available for businesses and workers.

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has enabled businesses to put employees on a period of temporary leave (furlough) and apply for a UK Government grant to cover 80 per cent of those workers’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month.
  • The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will allow eligible self-employed individuals to claim a taxable grant of 80 per cent of their average monthly profits, up to £7,500.
  • UK VAT-registered firms have been given the option to defer VAT payments until the end of June. There will be no interest or penalties on any amount deferred.
  • Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction.
  • The UK Government’s Bounce Back Loans Scheme provides loans of up to £50,000 to small businesses, with a 100 per cent government-backed guarantee for lenders.
  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is available for loans or finance of up to £5m. The UK Government will provide the lender with an 80 per cent guarantee to support the lending.
  • The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of Statutory Sick Pay they pay current or former employees for sickness starting on or after March 13, 2020.
  • The Future Fund will issue loans between £125,000 to £5 million to innovative companies which are facing financing difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak.


Details of the support available to businesses across the UK can be found at business-support

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