HELEN Moss is Business development manager at Copylink digital limited, situated at Cavendish Place, Eastbourne. She has written a very powerful letter to our MP about Plan B:

Dear Caroline Ansell,

I am writing as a family run business in your area regarding the Government’s current ‘Plan B’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I work as a reseller in the office products industry – a sector worth £10bn to the UK economy. I wish to bring to your attention the impact of the Plan B measures on our business and the office products industry more widely.

Our industry – like many, including town and city centre hospitality – relies on the occupation of offices. When employees are instructed to work from home, the consumption of office products falls dramatically, to typically around one third of usual levels. Many companies in this industry have only survived thus far due to the Government schemes that were available, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans and Bounce Back Loan Scheme. The former is no longer in operation and those who took out the latter are now being expected to repay those debts.

In my own business we supply the local areas with all print management and stationery office supplies as well as office furniture and more, we have been helping a lot of businesses through lockdown, with regards to saving them money and making them aware of the local businesses in the area that can help them rather than buying online. It has of course been very challenging for all local businesses including ourselves we are family run and have been in Cavendish Place for 32 years now.

I understand the need for public health protection, especially in the light of the new variant and the possible reluctance of some employees to work in office environments (although many of our customers have gone to great lengths to make their offices safe). However, with Plan B being the current situation – and with regulations not set to expire for five weeks at the earliest – it is crucial that the industries most affected by the Plan B provisions are supported by Government. In addition to the work from home guidance and corresponding loss of trade, rising energy and other costs are hitting hard. For companies in office products, who are already struggling to recover for all of these reasons, the Plan B measures are a huge setback.

We are working with our trade association, the British Office Supplies and Services Federation (BOSS), who are bringing this matter to the attention of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy at a working level. I would like you as my MP to write to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask that they consider a package of support for businesses most affected by the latest measures. I’d be very happy to discuss this further if helpful.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Helen Moss
Copylink Digital Limited