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North West

Keeping North West businesses connected and supported - A message from our Chair and Regional Director

27 Mar 2020

The Institute of Directors (IoD) in the North West is working with businesses to provide support during these unprecedented times, offering a host of opportunities to keep directors connected, informed and represented across our region. 

The single common denominator of the current pandemic is that not one of us will have experienced the situation before. It seems with every passing day, there is yet another ‘unprecedented’ development as our world keeps changing in a bid to cope with all that coronavirus can throw at us.

But, at the same time, we are also seeing unparalleled action being taken from the Government and local authorities. The enormity of the government’s commitment announced last Friday, to subsidise the salaries of workers at risk of redundancy by up to 80%, should not be underestimated. Hundreds of thousands of jobs across the UK that otherwise would have been lost could now be saved as a result. Combined with measures to defer VAT payments, offer Business Grants and increase Universal Credit, this is major boost in confidence to the business community and to consumers.

The acid test for all policies brought forward by government will be in how fast they reach businesses, where cash continues to be king. This now needs to be a priority.

Yes – there is more to be done and more detail to be communicated.. We are yet to see how easy accessing CBILS (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme) will be and unsure when HMRC will be able to deliver the cash to support Furloughed employees. 

For the self employed, after several days of waiting, the Chancellor announced on Thursday 26th, a scheme that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. The announcement has to be welcomed as it extends support to millions more individuals, but support cannot reach these people fast enough. As the IoD’s formal response suggests, the system must strip back bureaucracy where it can, and proving eligibility must be straightforward. 

The most important message is that we will get through this. However it will take a monumental joint effort, both in terms of business leaders coming together and partnering with politicians and government to ensure adequate measures are in place to safeguard the economy during what will undoubtedly be its most testing period since the financial crisis.

The IoD and its global network of directors has a key role in supporting Whitehall’s decision making. Alongside our partners in other representative organisations (the B5), we are in daily contact with policy makers and those with influence in government, shaping the very solutions that will help see our North West businesses through this time of crisis.

More than ever, we are providing a voice for local businesses and encourage you to get in touch to ensure your voice is heard. Please do contact us with your questions or concerns – or

The voice of IoD members is front and centre in Government, influencing decisions on IR35, VAT holidays, support for employees, Business Interruption loans etc. We are also feeding concerns and questions into the WMCA, BEIS and local authorities via numerous groups across the region, so please speak up.

Coronavirus Hub

We are providing a range of services to help you as you continue to grapple to keep your business together of the coming weeks and months including the recently launched IoD Coronavirus Hub on our website, which provides you with access to the latest advice, information and resources you need to support your business.

Staying connected

Online social lunches are already taking place each Tuesday and Thursday, enabling IoD members throughout the region to connect, maintain essential contact and to encourage peer support.

A series of webinars have been launched covering topics such as the Covid 19 Crisis Management Updates, and webinars on Marketing, and Growing your Business after the crisis, ensuring that directors can continue to develop professionally and access training whilst working remotely at home. Visit our events page to see more and book.

And we are also collating videos of members sharing how they are managing work. These are being posted on the IoD social media platforms at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn page and its Linkedin private group which are also serving an essential communications purpose with updates, news, advice and events information.


We recognise that these first weeks will require a focus on saving your business and supporting your colleagues. After that, directors might have time to consider how they come back stronger, through personal and professional development. 

The IoD Digital Academy offers 40 days’ worth of free CPD training visit the site here

What we want to say to everyone, company owners, business leaders, directors – whether you are a member of the IoD or not – you are most definitely not alone. We are so much stronger when we come together so please do get in touch, let us know what issues you are facing and what you want to see from government and others to help.

Above all, keep safe and follow government guidance on how to stem the spread of COVID-19 as we unite to reduce the risk of the coronavirus to lives and livelihoods.

With all good wishes,

Mike Blackburn OBE, IoD North West Chair

Claire Ebrey, IoD North West Regional Director

Summary of links

The online resources include:
• IoD Coronavirus Support Hub -
• Online social lunches. – To stay connected with the IoD North West community - on our events page.
• Webinars covering various topics  – on the events page.
• IoD Digital Academy – for 40 days’ worth of free CPD training and a self-assessment tool to identify areas of improvement  -
• Directors Advice Service -
• Videos of members on how you are managing work at this time or any tips you might have for others, which we will post on social media – please send your videos (filmed landscape please) to   

For more information, please contact

0161 521 8133

North West
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