‘Limited company directors need more support’: Gosha London
Mustafa Fuat is the founder of Gosha London, a high-end womenswear manufacturer producing samples and garments for luxury brands. As a director of a limited company, he falls into what UKFT is referring to as ‘The Forgotten Middle’ and feels left behind when it comes to the government support packages
In a normal year, we would be flat out right now working on samples and small production runs for some of the UK’s most exciting luxury designers but instead, most of my employees are furloughed, orders have dried up and we’re working at about 25% of capacity.
Usually you would see garments made in our studio on celebrities and royals. I’m thrilled that we have been able to use some of this time to make hospital scrubs and help out our health care workers but unfortunately this doesn’t pay the bills and won’t keep our workers in jobs.
The furlough scheme has been great for my employees and we have received a £10,000 grant from the council but other than that, we have had no help from the government. Like many directors of small limited companies, I pay myself a small salary and any further funds come as a dividend from profits, if we make any. Directors like me are not eligible for self-employment income support and we don’t qualify for other grants or schemes.
In addition to UKFT’s campaign for ‘The Forgotten Middle’, I’m urging the Treasury to put us on equal footing with the self-employed before it is too late for companies like mine. We need to support the creative entrepreneurs and risk-takers who start limited companies in this country, because that is what fuels our industry and makes it one of the best in the world.
Without rapid assistance, many small businesses like mine will fold – costing jobs today and crucially those we could have created in the future.
We had a great year last year and were winning new business from designers and brands that had previously been predominantly sourcing overseas. It felt like our ‘made in the UK’ message was really being heard, with labels rediscovering the benefits that sourcing here can offer. We’ve been working closely with UKFT to change the perception of manufacturing in this country and build awareness of our sector among new people coming into the industry, both as a positive career choice or to work with UK manufacturers as a designer or brand.
I’m hopeful that we might get back to where we were by this time last year but we need support to do that. I’m lucky that what we do is unique so we will pick up quicker than others, but it is really hard to see what the future will hold. A lot will struggle.
I care deeply about the industry and love the people I work with. I hope that we can get support for small businesses like mine before it is too late.
UKFT is in constant dialogue with the government and is outlining the latest support available for businesses on our website. We will update the details as and when the situation changes.