Coronavirus: Bishop's Stortford businesswoman Stacy 'SuPaw Nanny' Page appeals to council for help after 'catastrophic' impact
A Bishop's Stortford businesswoman claims she has been abandoned by the Government during the coronavirus lockdown.
Stacy Page, 40, aka SuPaw Nanny, says she is just one of many limited companies left with no financial support.
The Wrenbrook Road resident has joined a 6,000-strong Facebook campaign group called The Forgotten Group to press for a better deal.
She told the Stortford Indie how the Covid-19 crisis has had a "catastrophic" impact on her business, which provides dog working and home boarding pet care.
Stacy misses out on the one-off grants of £10,000 or £25,000 on offer to those who pay business rates – even though she had to borrow £55,000 to ensure her home meets animal welfare licensing regulations.
"Under new legislative guidelines, we were awarded the highest accolade: an outstanding five-star, three-year licence," she said. "As a business owner, it was extremely gratifying to receive this acknowledgement of our passion and professionalism, and a testament to our hard work, dedication and investment in our new facilities."
The coronavirus outbreak has brought the world to a standstill through travel restrictions, and tourism has been worst affected. "Businesses like mine that rely on people travelling are among the hardest hit," said Stacy. "This has clearly had a catastrophic impact on my business."
Bookings for March to June have been wiped out and Stacy sees no light at the end of the tunnel.
She said: "As the director of this small, community-based limited company that was forced to close its doors on March 23 as a direct order from our Government, I am lost.
"With 100% loss of income, I'm finding it completely impossible to pay my mortgage, council tax, household bills, business expenses such as my business and vehicle insurances and outdoor paddock rental, as well as my renovation loan repayments for the foreseeable future."
Husband Roman, 44, is also a small business owner, running Roman Grant Barber Shop in Havers Parade. The couple have one son, 19-month-old Fletcher, and Stacy is stepmum to Charlie, 17, a student at Harlow College, and Amber, 13, a pupil at Leventhorpe in Sawbridgeworth.
She said she had fallen through the Government's coronavirus safety net as she is not eligible for the business grant or Universal Credit because she has money set aside to pay her taxes. She also does not qualify for Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as a limited company, although she is regarded as such by banks and even the Universal Credit system, and is not able to join the Job Retention Scheme because she is her business's sole employee.
Her last hope is the Local Authorities Discretionary Grant Fund, which allows councils to award grants to those who were previously ineligible, but so far the response from East Herts Council has been "disappointing".
She said: "Having paid my taxes, absorbed losses, taken little in salary in the past nine years of trading in order to build a business from scratch that now successfully supports its local community, I'm disheartened by my local government's lack of support through this crisis."
An East Herts Council spokesperson said: "At the moment we're still awaiting Government guidance. As soon as we receive the promised guidance we will set out the eligibility criteria and we will publicise how businesses can apply."
* While her income stream has dried up, Stacy has turned to social media to raise her spirits. She has been sharing pet care tips and set up a series of #SuPawChallenges for animal lovers. To find out more, see SuPaw Nanny on Facebook and YouTube.
More by this authorSinead Corr
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