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How would UK businesses cope with a pandemic?

The ongoing swine flu situation appears to be causing more and more concern overseas with little real sense alarm in the UK. However, this is not to say that the UK authorities are not ready for a potential pandemic as we have seen significant stockpiling of the relevant anti-viral treatment over the last few months. Whether the same can be said of the UK business arena is very much open to debate as we are already seeing the closure of schools and businesses in other parts of the world.

While it is hoped that the UK government would offer some kind of financial assistance if a pandemic was to break out in the UK, it is debatable whether the UK banks would be as understanding. Liquidity in the UK, and international, money markets is still very light compared to business levels just 18 months ago and while there have been signs of increased supply this could well disappear overnight in the event of a swine flu pandemic.

The potential for further pressure on business cash flow models is fairly high at this moment in time although we have seen little comment from the various business associations around the UK with regards to any emergency measures. The UK economy could literally freeze overnight in the event of a pandemic, without any prior emergency plans.

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