COVID-19 impact on the UK businesses

COVID-19 is having a significant impact not only on people’s health, but also on the businesses and the economy. Organisations are facing various challenges and need to take immediate action and respond rapidly to changes in their business’s functionality.

According to Office for National Statistics statistical bulletin published on 23rd of April, of the 6,171 businesses responding to the Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey, 24% reported they had temporarily closed or paused trading for the period 23 March to 5 April 2020, 0.3% reported permanently ceasing trading, while 75% were continuing to trade. 94% of businesses, which continue to trade or had paused training, expressed interest in at least one of the government schemes. 60% of all businesses that continue to trade, have confidence in their financial resources, 6% don’t have confident about availability of resources.

Impact of turnover for businesses’ financial performance shows in the survey that from 4,650 businesses that responded, 66% reported their financial performance being outside of “normal” expectations. 93% reported of those businesses reported their turnover being outside of its “normal” range. Turnover was substantially lower than normal especially for businesses such as Accommodation and Food Service Activities, Human Health and Social Work Activities and Transportation and Storage. Turnover little lower than normal was noticeable especially in Education and Professional Scientific And Technical Activities. Those figures were from 23rd of March to 9th of April. Regarding the measures taken about managing the workforce, businesses that continue to trade, 40% responded so far that they were reducing staff levels and 29% reported having to decrease working hours.

The data used in Business Impact of Coronavirus should not be used in place of official statistics, but to show impact of COVID-19 on businesses. Survey is voluntary and results only reflect changes that occurred for the businesses that responded to it.

The website says:

“The coronavirus illness (COVID-19) is a significant challenge for the UK and we are working to ensure that the UK has the vital information needed to respond to the impact of this pandemic on our economy and society.”

The changes in the measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus, which impacts on the economy, labour market, population and society. Office for National Statistics says the UK employment rate in the three months to February 2020 was estimated at 76.6%. There were an estimated 795,000 vacancies in the UK in January to March 2020. Currently over four in five adults are worried about the effect the coronavirus is having on their life.

PWC website suggests six key areas of focus for organisations: crisis management and response, workforce, operations and supply chain, finance and liquidity; tax, trade and regulatory; strategy and brand. Businesses are advised to adapt their plans to be prepared for the long-term impacts of COVID-19. The key areas focus on adapting remote working strategy or effectively communicating to stakeholders. The main strategy is to stay informed about resources and financial support available for businesses.

By: Julita Waleskiewicz

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