With the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) survey last week into the impact of the current lockdown on business we learnt that nearly a fifth of British businesses don’t have enough cash reserves to go beyond a month and a further 44% can last for between a month and three months.

That explains the current focus that the BCC has on monitoring how quickly cash is being disbursed under the schemes that the UK Government has announced.

Along with other business bodies BCC has been pressing the Government to remove obstacles stopping cash from getting into company bank accounts and the Chancellor responded with changes to the rules for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme at the end of last week.

We really hope the decision that no personal guarantees can be sought from business owners for loans up to £250,000 and that banks do not need to assess applicants for normal commercial facilities before considering CBILS will make a big difference to the pace and the probability that loans will get on to the ground. If they don’t we will be looking for more changes.

We appreciate the scale of the Government’s challenge in delivering cash through other schemes like the Jobs Retention Scheme (due in May) and the similar programme for the self-employed ( due in June ) but we will be repeatedly encouraging the importance of fast work because for small businesses struggling with no demand and bills still needing paid those target deadlines look a very long way off.

Local authorities are also under pressure to approve the tens of thousands of applications now submitted for the smaller business grants. I know my own authority in Glasgow has made this a priority and re-assigned a large team of staff to get these grants through. Money has now begun to be released and the rate of payments is expected to grow quickly this week.

Next on our list of concerns are the gaps that remain in the schemes. There are many hundreds of small companies where the owner directors are paid a small salary and take the rest of their income in dividends. This is a common practice amongst small companies following widely recognized tax management advice. They are not fat cats evading tax and deserve similar treatment to the self-employed.

Then there are the small businesses with a handful of properties in the hospitality or tourism sectors who, for rather opaque reasons, have been treated differently by the Scottish Government under the local authority small business grants than is the case in England where a grant can be received for each property.

Since these properties, such as restaurants or cafes, are in essence separate businesses the SMEs involved are unsurprisingly unimpressed at being sacrificed in Scotland where only one grant per eligible company is allowed.

Our primary aim of course is to preserve businesses and in turn the jobs that go with them. We can begin to see where this lockdown is taking us economically as claims for universal credit grow rapidly.

Sir Harry Burns commented at the weekend as a former Chief Medical Officer that in the medium to long term increased poverty will cost lives just as surely as the virus itself.

The excruciatingly difficult choices we are having to make between the firmness of our lockdown and the sustained damage to the economy are being played out right now.

The more we do to find creative solutions that minimise the impact on the economy today without jeopardising lives the greater the chances for a swift recovery when the crisis is finally behind us.

Stuart Patrick is chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.