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Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker

Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker

The tracker serves as a barometer of business’ response to the government’s measures and changes to business’ working practices over the next few months. It also tracks how quickly new government interventions, introduced to deal with the real-world impact of this crisis, are getting to the businesses at the front line.

Week 1

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker:
First results show heavy toll on UK business communities as majority of firms face cash flow crisis

Results from the BCC’s first Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker paints a concerning, if unsurprising, picture for business communities affected by Coronavirus.

  • Sharp and significant fall in domestic and overseas revenue for UK businesses.
  • The majority of firms (62 per cent) have three months’ cash in reserve or less.
  • Almost half of respondents (44 per cent) expect to furlough at least 50% of workforce in the next week.

Week 2

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker:
Businesses not yet successfully accessing government loan and grant schemes

Results from the second BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker reveal that most businesses have not yet successfully accessed the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the grants for small businesses.

  • Just 1 per cent of firms had successfully accessed CBILS and 7 per cent are receiving grants.
  • 57 per cent of firms have three months cash in reserve or less, 6 per cent of respondents have already run out of cash.
  • 37 per cent of respondents said they were planning to furlough between 75 to 100 per cent of their workforce over the next week.
Take a look at the highlights

Week 3

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker:Two-thirds of respondents awaiting funds from furlough scheme as payday approaches.

Results from the third BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker reveal that the majority of businesses responding to the survey have now furloughed a proportion of their workforce, and are awaiting funds from the government’s Job Retention Scheme to enable them to pay staff.

  • 66% of survey respondents have furloughed staff in anticipation of scheme going live.
  • More than half of firms (59%) have three months cash in reserve or less.
  • 2 per cent of firms surveyed had successfully accessed CBILS and 15 per cent of those surveyed are now receiving grants.
Take a look at the highlights

Week 4

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker: More than 70 per cent of firms surveyed have furloughed staff as scheme goes live

Results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker reveal that the vast majority of businesses surveyed have furloughed a proportion of their workforce, and are awaiting funds from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as payday approaches for many.

  • 71 per cent of survey respondents have furloughed staff, up from 66 per cent last week
  • Cash flow remains a significant concern for many businesses - 6 in 10 have less than three months’ cash in reserve

Week 5

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker: Loan schemes still slow to help many cash-strapped firms – but furlough scheme preventing redundancies


Results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker reveal the majority of businesses surveyed ahead of changes to the scheme announced on 27 April did not intend to seek financial support through CBILS bank loans and most of those who had applied were awaiting a decision or had been unsuccessful.

While the appetite for loan support is highest amongst firms with the most urgent cash flow problems, many of these firms did not intend to access CBILS due to concerns they could not repay the loan.

  • 57 per cent of firms did not intend to apply for CBILS or other finance.
  • 13 per cent of all firms who attempted to access CBILS have been successful, while a majority are still awaiting a decision or have been unsuccessful.
  • Of those not applying, 30 per cent of the most cash-strapped firms say they could not re-pay CBILS loans.

Week 6

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker: most firms can be ready for ‘restart’ within three weeks


Results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker reveal the vast majority of firms surveyed say they will require three weeks or less to prepare to restart operations alongside any loosening of the UK lockdown.

Smaller businesses may be able to restart operations more quickly. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent)of respondents employing fewer than 10 people say they would need less than one week, compared to half (50 per cent) of respondents with more than 50 employees.

For firms of all sizes:

  • 25 per cent said they would not need any notice
  • 35 per cent said they would need less than a week’s notice
  • 29 per cent said they would need one to three weeks’ notice
  • 7 per cent said they would need three to six weeks’ notice
  • 3 per cent said they would need more than 3 weeks’ notice

By sector

Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of business-to-business service firms said that they would need less than one week or no notice to restart operations, compared to 50 per cent of business-to-consumer service firms.

The leading business organisation’s weekly tracker poll, which serves as a barometer of the pandemic’s impact on businesses and the effectiveness of government support measures, received 540responses.The sixth tranche  of polling was conducted April 29 – May 1.

The Tracker will continue to monitor business attitudes toward the restart of the economy – and the gradual release of the UK lockdown – over the coming weeks.

Businesses furloughing employees

The number of firms accessing the government’s Job Retention Scheme remains consistent with previous weeks, with around 74 per cent of respondents furloughing a portion of their staff.The scheme remains a crucial support for businesses to preserve jobs and livelihoods.

Encouragingly, since the scheme’s online application portal opened on 20 April, the vast majority of respondents (59 per cent) have submitted a claim and received payment from HMRC. This week’s results do not report any firms being rejected.

At the time of fieldwork:

  • 12 per cent of firms submitted a claim more than six working days ago and said they were yet to receive payment
  • 17 per cent of firms submitted a claim less than six working days ago and said they were yet to receive payment
  • 11 per cent have not yet made a claim, but plan to

Week 7

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker: Firms ready to embrace ‘new normal’ but government support must adapt

Results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker reveal that firms are ready for a gradual reopening of the economy but will need continued, adaptable government support during a phased return to work.

- Over 70 per cent of respondents have furloughed a portion of their staff.

- Nearly three quarters of these firms have submitted a claim to the furlough scheme and received payment.

- The Job Retention Scheme has prevented redundancies for vast majority of respondents.

Week 8

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker: Firms begin to reopen but one in ten cannot implement government guidance safely


Results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker reveal that the majority of firms surveyed are in a position to partially restart operations as lockdown restrictions are eased:

  • 83 per cent of respondents report that they know some or a lot of details about government guidance on working safely
  • 37 per cent of firms report they can implement the guidance and fully restart, and 45 per cent report they can partially restart
  • 85 per cent of respondents have received payment from furlough scheme

Week 9

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BCC Coronavirus Impact Tracker: Restart of the UK economy “still in first gear” with businesses operating at just half of normal capacity

Results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Impact Tracker in partnership with job site Indeed reveal that businesses are operating at half of their pre-Covid 19 capacity on average, despite lockdown measures easing.

More than half cited reduced demand and possible future lockdowns as major obstacles to restarting day-to-day operations.

  • On average, businesses are operating at half of their pre-Covid 19 capacity
  • Customer demand (54%) and possible future local lockdowns (52%) are the two top obstacles to maintaining day-to-day operations
  • BCC and Indeed call for swift Government action to reduce the cost of employment to protect businesses and preserve jobs

Week 10

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BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker: Summer Statement schemes fall short in protecting firms and jobs

Results from the latest BCC Coronavirus Business Tracker reveal that businesses are still facing significant cashflow challenges with the schemes announced in the Summer Statement failing to provide support at the scale needed to protect jobs after the furlough scheme winds down:

  • More than half of firms report cashflow decrease since June 2020, more than a third of respondents with improved cashflow cite furlough scheme cash
  • 43% of firms intend to use Furlough Bonus, but other Summer Statement support schemes have low take up
  • BCC continues to call for bold interventions to protect businesses and jobs

BCC responds to ONS GDP figures

BCC Head of Economics Suren Thiru comments on GDP figures for Q2 2020 published today by the ONS

BCC responds to ONS’ August labour market figures

BCC Head of Economics Suren Thiru comments on the ONS labour market figures for August 2020, published today,

BCC responds to investment for Northern Ireland traders

BCC Director of Trade Facilitation Liam Smyth responds to today's announcement of £200m for a new Trader Support Service for Northern Ireland traders.

BCC responds to proposed planning reforms

BCC Head of People Policy Jane Gratton responds to the publication of the government’s Planning for the Future white paper and associated consultation.