Economy

NAJ asks for ‘urgent action’ amid Covid-19 crisis

The UK jewellery industry has urged the government to take “urgent action” as the coronavirus crisis unfolds.

The National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) has today sent an open letter to PM Boris Johnson calling for “further clarity and support” on key issues that may affect the industry amid the outbreak. 

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The letter, signed by NAJ executive chief Simon Forrester, asks the government to consider cancelling business rates until the end of 2020, create payment plans for deferring PAYE, VAT and corporation tax, and to support banks in providing low-interest loans and extended credit terms.

It also asks that the government supports the wages of those who will be made redundant, or offer a universal basic income “until the crisis is over”.

Its final request is that the government  provides incentives to support UK businesses at this time, in order to drive consumers back to the High Street

The NAJ called the industry a “lynchpin” of the high street, but warned that liquidity issues for retailers and supply chains meant businesses are struggling to operate. 

It warned that many businesses do not have continuity insurance that covers them, and that without the proposed support, they will “likely fail”. 

In the letter, Forrester said: “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.”

He added: “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.”

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