Italy vs UK: business and bureaucracy.

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Edoardo Narduzzi, an Italian entrepreneur who lives in England, founder and president of Mashfrog Group, explains to Tempo, directed by Franco Bechis the differences between England and Italy in the fiscal and administrative measures against economic contagion from Covid-19

How will England help them to restart? How about Italy instead? We are talking about entrepreneurs, traders, workers. In a widely used word: people.

«With Italy the difference is profound. In the sense that in England, they started late, but the aid mechanism works. The aid was actually launched a week ago. They have been operational since Monday. There are aids for small and medium-sized enterprises that can apply for a loan of up to 5 million pounds, 80% guaranteed by the government, and they are very simple. You work with your commercial bank. It seems to me that fifty banks are recognized by the British Department of the Economy. You go to your bank, your bank actually takes over the file and the file is very simple. You must present the old business plan and the new business plan, the one revised after the blow from the coronavirus. They immediately give you the difference in costs you can’t cover. Before you had 100 of revenues,

Just this?

«There is the loan that the bank gives you, again 80% guaranteed by the government. So the bank knows you as a customer, the government gives them the guarantee, and the bank goes very fast. And this is a very reassuring element for those who do business. We contacted them on Monday, and on Wednesday they gave us the second instructions, we are finalizing the business plan that we will present next week, and they will provide the financing in a very short time. This is because the loan is given by the bank with which one works, and in this case, it is reserved for small and medium-sized enterprises with a maximum turnover ceiling. These can apply for a multi-year loan of up to £5 million and the first year without interest».

And for merchants?

«On trade, they have made ad hoc rules: they have suspended all taxes, for restaurants, hotels, pubs, for now until 30 June. They gave him 25,000 pounds each to small businesses, hotels and restaurants, to help with the crisis. While small companies, which are not in the hospitality sector, can ask for £10,000 each if they are in trouble. Another thing they’ve done: you can put all your employees at home for 12 weeks at up to £2,500 a month, as a cap, which the government pays. They give you 12 weeks’ salary up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.”

What weight does bureaucracy have in England?

«I’ve been here for three years as an entrepreneur, I’ve never entered a public administration office, and I’ve always done everything online. You have a code, and you work with it. Here in England, there are 5 million VAT numbers, the government has given them 80% of what they have declared in the last two years, for 12 weeks. Obviously, up to £2,500, which is the maximum monthly limit. Do you know what is the real teaching that comes from England?».


«In Italy, the approach is that according to the state, companies tend to cheat, to escape, to play smart, and it is clear that even during a crisis situation like this, then you find yourself issuing page after page long decrees, anti-mafia certificates and all the most senseless statements. In England, the philosophy is the opposite: I give you the utmost confidence, everything is set up to be fast. The citizen declares himself, then the State will check, and if you have declared falsely, you will no longer do business. These are two polar opposite approaches. I have companies both in England and in Italy: here we are all ready, while in Italy, the forms you have to do with INPS are cumbersome, and you, therefore, have to take on extra bureaucracy costs. We in Italy have the Pec and the digital signature, which the British don’t have, but in Italy, this is useless. While in England, you sign your signature online, on your tablet, send it to him and complete the paperwork. It’s not a digital signature but a software you use for everything and it’s called DocuSign».

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