Reflex Gaming MD Quentin Stott says that limiting supply-chain firms to furlough funding, whilst the entirety of their customer-base remains shuttered, could soon lead to dire consequences for the wider economy.
One of the industry’s leading suppliers and manufacturers has warned of “unimaginable” economic and social consequences should the government continue failing to support business suppliers.
Heading into 2020, Reflex Gaming was riding high on the back of its recent acquisition by the Dransfields group, and had firmly established itself as one of the country’s top machine suppliers to the pub and club sectors.
But government lockdown measures quickly deprived almost the entirety of its customer-base of any short-term prospects of operating – with inevitably devastating consequences to the roster of Reflex’s forward-looking orders.
As with other similar businesses, because shutdown orders do not directly prevent Reflex from operating, its director Quentin Stott finds himself in the absurdly unjust position of having his entire market erased, but only being eligible for staff furlough funding as a means of any kind of central support.
“It appears that companies in the supply chain to hospitality and leisure are simply being allowed to fall through the cracks of government and local authority decision-making on support measures throughout this pandemic,” he told Coinslot earlier this week. “I am getting the sense that hospitality and leisure will probably not get to open again until May, which means that sales for Reflex Gaming will have been essentially off a cliff for 14 months, minimum.”
“Although I completely understand that the public health emergency has taken a new turn, and government is absolutely focusing on that, there must also be some enhanced support for businesses which have been forced to close, directly or indirectly, because of government strategy,” he continued. “The government’s decisions must provide for previously healthy companies like ours to continue to survive, otherwise the economic and social consequences will be simply unimaginable.”
It’s precisely this argument which Stott has presented to his local MP Robert Jenrick – with whom he has been corresponding regularly since the onset of the pandemic. But whilst Stott is heartened by the sympathetic ear lent to him by Jenrick and the politician’s endeavours in taking up his case with the council, he also reports to being “flabbergasted” by the response of Newark & Sherwood District Council to Jenrick’s latest effort to press them on the matter of Reflex’s eligibility for a business rates grant.
“It was wholly disappointing – they just fobbed him off,” Stott reported. “Their written responses to him showed that all they’d done was have a quick look at our website and then regurgitated various aspects of their policy.”
Indeed, for Stott, it’s a clear sign that business funding is too crucial an issue to be left in the hands of local administrators; a point he is keen to raise this Friday when he meets once again with his MP via zoom.
“In our experience, whoever at the council weighed in on our case didn’t even make the effort to investigate the details of our business properly,” he told us. “When the survival of a business is on the line, the government needs to ensure that their application is properly weighed and responded to directly. It is the very least that they can do.”