NAJ urges UK government to support jewellery industry
LONDON, March 17, 2020 – The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) has sent an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for support for the UK jewellery industry due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the letter signed by Simon Forrester, NAJ Chief Executive, the Association underlines that liquidity issues could greatly affect Britain’s jewellery businesses.
The letter appeals to the government to consider support in cancelling business rates until the end of 2020, and to work with the tax authorities (HMRC) to create payment plans for deferring pay-as-you-earn tax (PAYE), VAT and corporation tax.
It also urges the government to support banks to provide low-interest loans and extend credit terms as well as support the wages of those made redundant, or offer a universal basic income until the crisis is over.
Furthermore, the letter calls for incentives to support UK businesses in driving consumers back to the High Street.
Forrester said, “Urgent action from our government can make a difference to the jewellery industry. We are doing what we can to support each other but at this stage direct and pressing leadership is crucial. We now await consultation alongside other representatives of high street businesses on the decisions that will for a number mean their survival.”
NAJ continues to update its members and supporters via regular updates.
The letter in full is published below:
Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
17th March 2020
Dear Prime Minister
UK Jewellery Industry in Crisis, urgent action required
The UK jewellery industry is already on its knees following significant economic challenges in recent years. Thousands of jobs are now at risk as the High street faces the greatest challenge in decades.
We need clarity to support Britain’s jewellery businesses. Your clear financial commitment and support, direct advice and guidance, reassurance and empathy are vital at this time.
Retail Jewellery businesses are a lynchpin of the UK high street, many of whom have been present for generations. But significant liquidity issues for retailers and their supply chain mean these businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to operate, thus impacting on one of the UK’s greatest creative industries, jewellery design and manufacture.
Some retail and hospitality businesses are expecting to be able to claim on their insurances should you declare the High Street off limits. However, many more do not have business continuity insurance that covers them, and will likely fail as a result. We implore you to consider those businesses, and offer them support as part of a package to include:
- Cancellation of business rates until the end of 2020
- Work with HMRC to create payment plans for deferring PAYE, VAT and corporation tax until we are in a better position
- Support banks to provide low-interest loans and extend credit lines on favourable terms to UK business
- Support the wages of those made redundant, or offer a universal basic income until the crisis is over
- Provide incentives to support UK businesses, driving consumers back to the High Street.
Urgent action can and will make a difference. As an industry we are doing what we can to support each other, but your direct and pressing leadership is crucial. Please consult our sector alongside representatives of all high street businesses on the decisions that will mean their survival.
The National Association of Jewellers