UK economy and society – the latest indicators

The report released on 25 June by The Office for National Statistics provides with recent data about social impacts of the coronavirus on Great Britain, online price change for high-demand products or business impact of the coronavirus. The Business Impact of COVID 19 voluntary survey, showed results from 1 June to 14 June 2020, where out of 24,473 businesses sampled, ‘41% of responding businesses are providing wage top-ups to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, with 44% of responding businesses having less than six months of cash reserves’.

The business survey data from figure 1, shows that 86% of businesses were trading, with 79% of them trading for more than the last two weeks and 6% of them who restarted trading in the last two weeks. It says:

“Of the businesses trading, 7% of their total workforce had returned from furlough in the two weeks prior to completing the questionnaire, while 2% returned from remote working to their normal workplace. Table 1 also shows the financial performance of businesses continuing to trade.”

The biggest percentage of businesses in terms of change in turnover was 22% – which relates to three changes: turnover not being affected, turnover has decreased between 20% and 50% and turnover has decreased by more than 50%. Of all businesses, it is said that 14% temporarily closed or paused trading and out of these, 3% intend to restart trading again in the next two weeks, but 11% does not indent to do so in the period between 1 and 14 June.

When it comes to capital expenditure, 20% of businesses said that capital expenditure has stopped, 23% that is lower than normal and 33% that it has not been affected. The other categories include businesses who said that capital expenditure is higher than normal, which was 6% and 10% who said it was not applicable.

In terms of social impacts of the coronavirus on Great Britain, the section included results from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey that covered the period from 18 to 21 June 2020. The separate publication about this topic was released on 26th of June, which main points included for example leaving home, face coverings, work home-schooling and coming back to school and well-being.

The last category provides insights about for example almost half of adults (47%) saying that their well-being was affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the past seven days, which was compared to last week of 48%. It also says that ‘almost two-thirds of adults were somewhat worried about the effect coronavirus was having on their life now, which has not changed when it was compared with last week.’.

Figure 3 showed an increase from 41% to 44% of adults that had travelled to work in the past seven days and decrease in those working from home from 38% to 33%. When it comes to online job adverts, there has been increased volume in catering and hospitality sector from 20% to 27%, which was a result of data from 12 to 19 June 2020. The most common reasons for leaving home continues to be shopping, but also for exercise, travelling to and from work or meeting up with people in a personal or public space.

The online price change for high-demand products from 16 March to 21 June 2020 is said to have decreased by 0.4%, between weeks 13 and 14, saying that it was ‘the largest weekly fall since the series began in mid-March’. The price change included products such as antibacterial wipes, tissues, toilet rolls or hand sanitisers.

The report provides with changes that are noticeable as country slowly recovers from the coronavirus outbreak. The impact of lockdown on people can be seen in the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey that covered the social impacts. Figures are showing that people are experiencing changes in terms of their work, well-being or reasons for leaving home.

By  Julita Waleskiewicz

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