The Business Exchange Swindon & Wiltshire Edition 49: June/July 2020 - Page 8

LOVE LOCAL The Business Exchange is encouraging the Swindon and Wiltshire business community to rally together and support local businesses. As our high streets get set to open their doors for the first time post-lockdown, they need us more than ever. If you need to buy something, purchase it from one of our many hard working and passionate independents. You’ll be helping to keep dreams alive and families from struggling. Many of our local retailers are too scared to use the hard hitting words ‘use us or lose us’, but that’s the reality. The same applies to anyone looking to buy products or services for their business #FORGOTTENLTD - invest locally. We have such a diverse mix of businesses on our doorstep, why look anywhere else? Small business is the backbone of our economy and it plays a vital role in its unique identity and what makes our area special. We must strive hard to protect it. Shop around, use the many forums we have in Wiltshire. Many businesses are using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram as free ways to share the message that they’re open for business and what they have to offer. Follow the groups in your area, such as ‘Shout out Corsham’ , ‘Spotted in Bradford on Avon’ and ‘SMEs vs Coronavirus’ on Facebook. Media consultant and journalist Fiona Scott has b for the campaigning group #forgottenltd which ha representing business owners who have been exc What started as a social media movement has gone on to become a voice for thousands of small limited company directors affected by the coronavirus pandemic - from beauticians, to hairdressers, to plumbers, electricians, book-keepers, business coaches to marketing professionals and many more. Working with the founders, Fiona is now compiling case studies of businesses across the region who are affected by this to share their stories and keep up the pressure on government to deal with all businesses in a fair and equitable manner. She said, “When this started we all thought we were ‘in it together’ however it soon became clear to business owners like me that we actually are not. A decision has been made to ignore those business owners who pay their salaries through a low wage and top up with dividends. This is a perfectly legitimate course of action recommended by accountants throughout the land - and, in the past, supported by governments. “Now we are excluded. We cannot furlough ourselves because that means we cannot keep our businesses running under the restrictions - and 80 per cent of our small salary is not enough to live on. Some of us have staff on furlough, no income, fixed costs and no personal funds. We have lobbied our own MPs and the Chancellor who is not listening.” The campaign group is hoping to force a parliamentary debate on the issue by collating 100,000 signatures on a petition - and will continue to highlight the inequality faced by small business owners throughout England. “We fear a storm is coming,” Fiona said. “On one day alone last week one of our members in HR did over 40 consultations Helping b through C Chartered Accountants and Busines call: email: