Inverclyde Businesses Need Further Direct Financial Support To Cope With Further Lockdowns

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Business Round-Up – 17 August 2020

Inverclyde Businesses Need Further Direct Financial Support To Cope With Further Lockdowns

Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce - Phase V Covid-19 Survey Results

A new survey by Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in conjunction the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) network has found the vast majority of local businesses are doing their utmost to retain staff in the coming months, despite high levels of concern over the risk of further lockdowns and phased withdrawal of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The survey confirmed recent official employment statistics, with only a small proportion (11%) having made staff redundant since measures to stem the spread of pandemic came into force.

However, the number of employers who believe they will continue to avoid redundancies starts decreasing over the coming months.

Over three quarters (77%) expect they will retain their staff in the next three months. However, this reduces dramatically to 59% as the Treasury’s furlough scheme comes to an end in October.

A significant majority (56%) of businesses are quite concerned about the need to drive up demand, indicating ongoing challenges in restoring sufficient consumer confidence to boost the economy.

Over half (61%) have indicated rising costs of doing business, such as rental costs, business rates and general taxation as a significant concern. Having to make premises Covid-19 secure will have also contributed to the rise in costs while facing reduced capacity and lack of trade at the same time.

While government support will have supported levels of cashflow, half of firms (50%) report lower levels of cash flow compared to one month ago.

Reflecting on the results, ICC President, Gavin McDonagh said:

“We fear a reckoning as some companies, particularly in the tourism, hospitality and retail sectors decide it is no longer viable to restart or continue in the coming months.

We must achieve a balance between looking at long-term ambitions and strategies for growth alongside concrete action in the months ahead to ensure we retain as many businesses and jobs as possible in Inverclyde.

“It cannot be one business or sector over the other.

“For those sectors which remain closed or have just resumed operations recently, helping them back to work and restoring consumer confidence as quickly as possible is crucial to their immediate survival.

“Alongside a cautious outlook for employment, the tracker survey highlights there is a need for more action by the Government to cut further the upfront costs of doing business.

“There is a need for more direct fiscal support in the form of targeted sectoral interventions for those businesses most at risk as well as supporting areas like Inverclyde where the impact of the virus has hit harder than in others.

“We must also see tailored support to meet the need of businesses at an increasingly individual level.

“The Inverclyde business community has already demonstrated that we are adaptive, innovative and resilient, but the challenges we face over the next few months, and probably years, warrants a response from the Government that is just as substantial.

“We cannot just play at the edges – we need to harness the resilience, the ambitions and the skills of business and political leadership to fundamentally rethink how we ensure Government at all levels become more interested in working with our businesses.”

The tracker survey had 412 responses, of which Inverclyde had 20 in total (5%) and was conducted from 16/07/2020 – 30/07/2020.

To view the Inverclyde results, click here.

To view the full Inverclyde survey results, click here.

To view the National results, click here.

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