The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

One-Quarter Of Businesses Expected To Restart Trading In The Next Four Weeks

One-Quarter Of Businesses Expected To Restart Trading In The Next Four Weeks
05 June 2020 | Updated 11 June 2020
 

Since lockdown started to restrict our movements, the ONS has been monitoring the impact COVID-19 has had on UK businesses.

Let’s examine some of the key findings so far, and look to what these might indicate for Britain’s economy.

 

A Steady Decline In UK Businesses That Have Paused Trading

 

Shortly after social distancing measures were introduced, the ONS’ Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey (BICS) found that a quarter of UK businesses had temporarily closed or paused trading.

Since then that proportion has gradually declined to just under a fifth (18%) in the latest period.

The below chart shows the percentage of all responding businesses who have temporarily closed or paused trading by survey wave, and current expectations of restarting.

 

Image

 

Picture: A bar chart showing a steady decline in UK businesses that have paused trading. All percentages are a proportion of the number of businesses who responded to each particular wave. Response rates can vary between waves which could impact on differences Expected restarting dates are based on final Wave 5 responses from the point of completion of the questionnaire (18 May to 31 May 2020)

 

This data reveals that:

 

  • 25 per cent of businesses said they expected to restart trading in the next four weeks, and another 30 per cent in more than 4 weeks
  • However, almost half (45 per cent) of paused businesses answered that they weren’t sure when they would be able to restart trading, reflecting the high levels of uncertainty that many UK businesses continue to face
  • In real estate, water & waste, and professional, scientific and technical services, fewer than 5 per cent of businesses have paused trading
  • Information and communication, transportation & storage, and manufacturing were only a little higher
  • Around three-quarters of businesses in accommodation & food services, arts, entertainment and recreation have temporarily closed
  • The vast majority of these expect their businesses will continue to be on hold in four weeks’ time

 

Cash Reserves

 

In the latest BICS survey, respondents were asked how long they felt their enterprise’s cash reserves would last.

Four per cent said they had no cash reserves, with another four per cent saying they had less than one month’s reserves. However, over a fifth (23%) said they had enough for one to three months. 

In total, almost one-third of UK businesses said they only had enough cash reserves to survive three months or less. Another quarter said they were not sure how long their cash reserves would last.

Accommodation, food services, arts, entertainment & recreation businesses were again most vulnerable, with over half of these businesses having three months or fewer in cash reserves to rely on.

 

Preparations To Reopen

 

The ONS has stated that they will continue to monitor businesses’ experiences closely and will update their questionnaire to capture how they are preparing to re-open.

Grant Fitzner, Chief Economist and Director of the ONS’ COVID-19 response offered some positive news regarding the business surveys:

“To date our business surveys have found only a very small proportion (0.5 per cent or less per survey wave) of businesses reporting that they had permanently ceased trading. 

“But those firms who don’t consider they’re able to restart trading any time soon, or who have fast depleting cash reserves, face an uncertain future. How they fare will have consequences not just for their business and employees, but for the wider UK economy and society.

Picture: A photograph of an "Open" sign

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 05 June 2020

Share



Related Articles

Cluttons Reports That Commercial Real Estate Continues to Show Strong Performance

Quarterly figures from Cluttons show the commercial property market’s continued strong recovery – but how long can this realistically last? Despite a...

 Read Full Article
Busiest Day for Office Attendance Since March 2020 Reported

Office occupancy in the UK recently reached its highest percentage since the start of the pandemic. On Thursday 12 May 2022, office occupancy reached an average of 42...

 Read Full Article
Rees-Mogg Urges Civil Servants to Make Use of London Office Space

Cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg, in a letter to cabinet colleagues, is urging civil servants to reduce how much time they spend working from home. In a letter...

 Read Full Article
Is There A 'Safer' Day Of The Week to Attend The Office?

In terms of virus transmission risk, are there days that are “safer” to attend the workplace than others? According to the Infogrid Air Quality Index, only...

 Read Full Article
COVID-19 Working From Home Guidance – What’s the Latest?

Employees in England are no longer being asked to work from home, as the government removes Plan B rules. But is this change as simple as encouraging a mass return to the...

 Read Full Article
Workplaces in South West Could be Affected by Incorrect PCR COVID Results  

COVID-19 testing has been suspended at a centre in Wolverhampton, after reports that up to 43,000 people may have been wrongly given negative results. The errors were...

 Read Full Article
What Does the PM's COVID-19 Winter Plan Mean for Employers?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently laid out his COVID-19 winter response plan to the public, but how will it impact existing working policies? The winter...

 Read Full Article
Flexible Working Policies As Important as Salary, Says HSBC

Research from HSBC shows that an organisation’s approach to flexible working is on par with salary when it comes to employee priorities. HBSC’s study of...

 Read Full Article
Why CO2 Monitoring is 'Not Enough' for Healthy and Safe Offices

Will Cowell de Gruchy from Infogrid puts forward his argument for why the government should mandate smart air quality monitors in offices and schools. Will is the...

 Read Full Article
Portico Launches Online Concierge to Welcome Workers Back to Office

Portico Lifestyle, an online concierge service, allows users to access all the services you would expect from a top hotel concierge in just a few clicks. The...

 Read Full Article