Following the announcement of the Self-Employed Income Support measures on 26th March, we felt both encouraged and disappointed by the regulations introduced. Whilst the support will undoubtedly help some independent catering businesses, we know that many have slipped through the net and we have since been contacted by many of our members who are concerned about what this means for their business going forward.
As a result of these concerns, we sent out a survey to members asking questions about the extent to which the measures would help their business, and in the event that they didn’t qualify for help – what did the future look like for their business.
As expected, the results showed us that the majority of our members remain unsupported, irrespective of the scheme with 67.97% of mobile caterers saying they are not eligible for support; with only 4.71% of respondents claiming the Self-Employed Income Support ‘helps a lot.’ Many have argued that fixed businesses may fare better as they are more likely to benefit from the suspension of business rates, as well as the fact that their trade is less seasonal than for the majority of mobile caterers. However, with 48.65% of fixed site businesses saying the measures do not ‘help at all’, it would seem many caterers, regardless of their business model, feel forgotten by the government.
We know that this is an extraordinarily difficult time for independent catering businesses, and that’s why we’re still doing everything in our remit to help our members. We have sent the results of our survey to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, demonstrating in black and white, the impact of COVID-19 on our sector.
NCASS Director Mark Laurie said: “We’ve made some great progress in recent weeks, ensuring the voices of our members and the wider industry are heard by government. We are in regular contact with government departments and the results of our survey are drawing their attention.”
We will keep you updated with any developments as and when they happen. In the meantime, we’re working really hard to create work opportunities for our members at this time. It’s our belief that independent caterers are absolutely key in providing food for key workers and we’re working hard behind the scenes to make this possible.