STRUGGLING businesses face uncertain futures after failing to qualify for the government’s support schemes.

Owners of some Swindon firms have gone without any financial aid during the coronavirus crisis after technicalities left them unable to apply for help.

Amanda Franks of Frankly Recruitment is part of the Forgotten Ltd campaign, which argues that directors of limited companies that do not have a registered commercial office needlessly missed out on the small business grant.

She managed to furlough her staff and has worked alone in a purpose-built back garden base during lockdown but she fears that bringing her three colleagues back could prove too costly to keep going.

To keep her 11-year-old business afloat, Amanda will take out a £50,000 Bounce Back loan, which must be repaid within a year and could put her into personal debt.

She said: “This is the biggest problem I’ve faced and I don’t know if the company will survive – that’s a horrible situation to be in.

“It’s been difficult and lonely and so stressful, I’ve had no help covering my own salary because I take PAYE plus dividends and I don’t expect to have a day off until my staff can come back in October.

“We recruit hundreds of people into temporary and permanent work, though we lost all our temps during lockdown and have had just one piece of work since.

“Apart from furlough, which was a godsend, we didn’t qualify for anything and it feels extremely unfair. Not every limited company has a commercial office and we are not alone in this.

“Frankly Recruitment was very successful before and will be again. I am hanging on to my staff because they are the essential component to recovering.

“My gut instinct is that the recruitment market won’t return until the new year. It’s tough but I believe 11 years work shouldn’t disappear and I will fight on to make sure that doesn’t happen. The government needs to revisit their support to limited company directors.”

Swindon health and wellbeing coach Bonnie Prim built up her own business on a part-time basis for five years while working full-time elsewhere, then took up self-employment as her only job in April 2019.

Being unable to submit her 2019/2020 tax return to prove that 90 per cent of her income now came from her own business meant she missed out on the two grants for the self-employed.

She said: “I was so disappointed. All of my clients dropped away in the first month of lockdown so I had no income after working hard to build up my business.

“My husband has not been able to find work since being made redundant last year and our only source of income had just stopped.

“I applied for Universal Credit just before lockdown – luckily before the massive influx of other people did – but it wasn’t enough to get by, so I took on a part-time job as a life coach for a mental health charity’s clients and a full-time job at Nationwide.

“The first weeks for the worst, not knowing how the bills would be paid, but in a few months I’ll hopefully be back where I need to be and can be back doing what I enjoy most.

“It’s not just me, there are lots of us that fell through the gaps. I understand that a line has to be drawn but being able to submit that tax return would have made me eligible for help.”

Things are slowly starting to pick up again for Bonnie as face-to-face sessions at the psychotherapy centre in Old Town resume following a sudden move online which saw her attract more clients from further afield. “People are thinking more about their health now”, she added.