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Small Businesses: Mental Illness

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL14299, tabled on 16 March 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of a recent survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Corporate Finance Network, published on 11 March, which found that one in five small business owners are struggling with mental health issues; and what steps they are taking to increase the wellbeing of small business owners.

Answered on

30 March 2021

The Government recognises the significant impact that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had on both employers and employees.

In order to highlight available support around mental health, the Government is signposting to resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit, through GOV.UK. We also continue to work with the Thriving at Work Leadership Council to encourage employers to sign up to the Mental Health at Work (MHAW) commitments. We also engage leading Mental Health charities and organisations to better understand issues around SME mental health, financial insecurity for small business owners and the self-employed, and we continue to explore what further support may be offered.

We also know how worried people are, and we are taking many steps to protect both jobs and the long-term financial future of businesses during the current economic emergency. Throughout this crisis, our priority has been clear: to protect lives and livelihoods. We have introduced an unprecedented and comprehensive package of business support measures to help as many individuals and businesses as possible, which has mitigated some of the worst immediate impacts of COVID-19 on risk factors for poor mental health. This includes measures such as the small business grants, the Coronavirus loan guarantee schemes, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the deferral of VAT and income tax payments, and more. Businesses can also access tailored advice through our Freephone Business Support Helpline, online via the Business Support website or through their local Growth Hubs in England. The Business Support Helpline continues to support business owners with tailored advice and information, and also signposts individuals to mental health support services where appropriate.

Further measures were also announced by my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget that build on the significant support already available as well as set out how current support will evolve and adapt. This includes the extension of the CJRS until September 2021, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue with a fourth and a fifth grant. The Chancellor announced that a further 600,000 people, many of whom became self-employed in 2019-20, may now be able to claim direct cash grants under SEISS. The Chancellor also announced in the Budget that from 1st April one-off Restart Grants of up to £6,000 for non-essential retail and up to £18,000 for hospitality, leisure, personal care, and accommodation businesses will be available to support them to reopen as Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed.

Businesses and individuals can use our checker tool on GOV.UK to quickly and easily determine whether they are eligible for any further financial support at this time. We will continue to work with colleagues across Government, businesses and other organisations, to ensure the right support is available for employers and employees.

Answered by

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy