Just 40% of firms 'confident' they can keep operating amid coronavirus

Just 40 per cent of businesses are ‘confident’ they can keep operating through coronavirus turmoil

  • ONS has surveyed thousands of businesses on how coronavirus is hitting them
  • Before the lockdown came into force 40 per cent said the could carry on 
  • A third had already cut jobs before the lockdown was put into force 

Just 40 per cent of businesses are ‘confident’ they can keep operating amid coronavirus turmoil, it was revealed today.  

The grim picture emerged in a survey that showed almost a third had already cut jobs – even before the government ramped up social distancing measures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) findings came amid growing fears about the disastrous impact of lockdown on the UK economy.

Some 29 per cent of the 4,598 firms it surveyed had temporarily reduced staff numbers between March 9 and March 22.

Four in 10 said they were confident they could continue operating during the pandemic – with even that low number representing the period before the Government’s draconian restrictions came into force

Four in 10 said they were confident they could continue operating during the pandemic – with even that low number representing the period before the Government’s draconian restrictions came into force.

Nearly half reported that their turnover was lower than normal, with those in the accommodation and food service sectors particularly hard hit.

Some 90 per cent of firms in those areas said turnover was below the norm.

Manufacturing, retail and administration firms also reported lower than average turnover.

Meanwhile, firms in the professional services and communication sectors said that turnover was largely unaffected over the period.

The ONS also revealed that the online prices for high-demand products increased by 1.5 per cent in the week starting March 30, compared to the previous week.

The preliminary figures showed a 6.2 per cent rise in the price of pet food, while items such as nappies, tinned soup, long-life milk and pasta also saw price increases.

However, some products saw prices fall, such as cough medicine and rice, which saw the average price fall by 11.7 per cent.

It also revealed that visits to UK ports dived 12.5 per cent in the week starting March 23 on the back of falling business orders.

The ONS has started producing weekly updates to track the economic impact of coronavirus.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (pictured last night) has unveiled massive bailouts for business and workers but admits he cannot help everyone

 

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