Trade bodies are the forgotten sector of the pandemic warns BVAA boss
14 Dec 2020
Trade associations have played a vital role in supporting industry throughout the Covid-19 lockdown, but many are themselves under threat due to a lack of financial help, warns the British Valve and Actuator Association chairman Colin Findlay.
Findlay, who is also CEO of valve engineering business Seven Glocon Group, pointed out that the Government relied on associations to advise their respective industries in the early stages of the first lockdown.
An official list of associations was published as part of national ‘support for businesses during coronavirus’ activity in early April. Recently, businesses have been advised to contact trade bodies for help in applying for Kickstart Funding.
Many associations are now facing difficulties of their own yet are excluded from much of the financial aid that was offered to businesses, charities and non-profit organisations, warned Findlay.
“When businesses were reeling from the sudden and extensive impact of Covid-19 restrictions, many turned to their trade association for guidance,” he stated.
“Trade associations worked proactively to ensure their industries’ voices were heard as events unfolded, and government has recently acknowledged the value of simple and transparent communications between trade associations and themselves.”
His views were reinforced by BVAA chief executive officer Rob Bartlett who stressed that trade associations had to extend their remit during the crisis, which meant scaling back or furloughing staff to saveresources was not an option:
“Like many trade associations, we act as an emergency service for our members – they come to us when they need immediate advice on urgent matters. We had to evolve our offering fast this year, delivering more services online.
“As a long established association with a track record of prudence, we’ve been able to shoulder the additional expense and reduced income caused by the pandemic. However, not all trade associations are this fortunate.”