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MRS Sends Second Letter to UK Government

April 6 2020

MRS Chief Executive Jane Frost has again written to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, urging 'one simple step to save one of the UK's world leading sectors'.

Jane FrostIn the letter dated 31st March, Frost thanks the government for the steps taken to support the UK economy in general, but notes that 'there are some simple things that can be done to underpin our sector, which do not require new policy initiatives or systems'. Specifically, if the support already given to 'the face to face sectors of hospitality and leisure' can be extended to the market and social research sector, the government 'can still save it from possibly irreparable harm'.

Frost (pictured) notes that the MRS issued advice to close down face to face projects on 17th March, long before the government issued instructions for social distancing, but says the 'overwhelmingly SME businesses' [small and medium-sized enterprises] in the sector and their suppliers (eg viewing facilities) 'are not covered by the assistance given to hospitality and leisure businesses despite facing identical problems'. Support should include widening of the 12 month business rates holiday currently available to retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses to those MR operations founded on ftf contact - including training as well as viewing facilities and others.

The letter also asks for clarity on issues such as whether new government initiatives such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme / furlough arrangements apply to ftf research interviewers, including thousands on zero rated contracts - many are 'desperate for financial assistance'.

Available in full at www.mrs.org.uk/article/mrs/one-simple-step-to-save-one-of-the-uks-world-leading-sectors , the letter concludes by offering help: 'As the professional and trade body for the market and social research sector, MRS stands ready to assist your officials, if necessary, in identifying those businesses in face to face research in need of help'.

All articles 2006-20 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas unless otherwise stated.

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