Don’t leave company directors high and dry, FMB tells Chancellor

Greater support is needed for those running small businesses who fall between the gap in schemes to support employees and the self-employed, said the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer today [April 3].  

Key statistics from a survey of 589 FMB members – small and medium-sized builder companies across the country – this week include: 

 • Four in five (80%) responders were directors of limited companies, of which more than half (58%) receive most of their income through dividends 

• Two-thirds of directors (69%) said that 80% of their monthly PAYE salary (available as a furloughed employee through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) would not provide enough support to them during the lockdown  

• Of those who said 80% of their PAYE salary was insufficient, 63% work in the domestic renovation, repair and maintenance sector, the part of the construction industry least able to continue to work in line with Public Health advice, and therefore hardest hit by the virus. 

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB said: “The Chancellor has been generous in his support for workers and the self-employed in this time of crisis, but there is a core group who will miss out – those two million people who run and manage businesses and pay themselves through dividends.

“The vast majority of small builders have seen pretty much all their work dry up over the last few weeks, and naturally those running these companies are anxious to know how they will support themselves, their workers, and keep their businesses solvent in the weeks and months ahead. The support for the PAYE part of their income will not be enough for two thirds of builders to live off. Our members are being rejected for loans, and don’t have access to government cash grants that would go a long way to saving them from being left high and dry.”

Brian concluded: “We are joining the call with other industry bodies for the Chancellor to reconsider his decision not to cover dividend payments in his income support packages. This could be the lifeline that keeps many small businesses, employing thousands of people, afloat.”