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#ForgottenLtd campaign gains traction with MPs, launches survey

Event professionals among thousands of “forgotten” small business directors campaigning for more government support to help deal with the Covid-19 crisis say their efforts are gaining traction with MPs.

The #ForgottenLtd campaign aims to raise awareness of the lack of meaningful government support for small limited company directors across the UK, many of whom work in the meetings and events sector.

To that end, it has launched an Impact Survey for small limited company directors who have been affected by the lockdown to complete. The evidence collected is set to be presented to the government to highlight the impact the lack of support is having on members.

Shirley Craven, MD of meeting tech consultancy Curvebox, said: “The campaign is going really well – we’re growing in numbers and seem to be finally getting some traction with MPs and the media. We are very positive that we are pushing our campaign forward – we have been featured on Sky News, BBC News, The Telegraph, The Financial Times and more.

“The Treasury Committee released their #GapsInSupport report last week, which brings the limited company director situation into focus with the Government. As you can imagine, there was a lot of noise around the release of this report – all to the good as we feel we are finally getting some traction. The Government has to respond within two months though, so if they wait too long, it will be just too late for a lot of businesses after 12 plus weeks with no income, no work and, particularly for the meeting and event industry, no hope of getting back to work for the foreseeable future.”

The campaign has used a Twitter Bomb to raise the profile of the situation further and is encouraging people to join on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Craven added: “The situation is that as directors of small limited companies, we are not eligible for the self-employment income support scheme. Many of us do not qualify for small business grants, as we are not in commercial premises.

“Although the bounce back loan scheme is now available to some, many of us do not see taking on large debt in such an uncertain business landscape, as a realistic option. Furlough is a catch-22 for company directors. Unpredictable cashflow means our salaries are low, so the scheme doesn’t cover our living expenses. And if we furlough, we’re not allowed to work on saving our business.”

Campaigners are asking the Treasury to:

• Give Ltd companies a corporation tax rebate
• Increase the discretionary grant fund allocated to local authorities.
• Create parity across all discretionary award authorities across the UK to avoid postcode lottery allocations.
• Reconsider putting directors of small limited companies on an equal footing with the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS).
• Allow furloughed directors to continue to work to support their businesses.
• Allow furlough for all ltd co directors paid via #AnnualPAYE
• Extend Business Support Grants to all small businesses
• Convert Bounce Back Loans to Grants