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A new survey says a third of Suffolk business could go bust due to coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:34 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:35 20 March 2020

Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Picture: Paul Simon

Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. Picture: Paul Simon

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More than a third of Suffolk firms fear coronavirus could put them out of business, according to a new survey by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

The poll of 146 businesses, which was conducted on Wednesday, found 92% of businesses in Suffolk were feeling the effects of the disease – up from 64% last week.

The main issues facing firms are a lack of customers in the UK, which affected 42% of respondents, and the availability of staff – 38% of respondents.

MORE: ‘Perverse’ plans to favour taxman when firms goes bust come under fire

Last week only 12% of businesses were struggling to get staff into work – the biggest jump this week.

But the number of companies experiencing supply chain problems has dropped from 43% to 35%, as has the number who are struggling to get customers overseas which dropped from 20% to 18%.

In reaction to the problems caused by COVID-19 76% of firms have brought in more flexible working practices; just under a quarter of companies are looking for different suppliers; and 36% of companies are now offering staff sick pay if they have to self isolate – up 28% in the last poll.

Loss of income is a worry for 82% of businesses while 38% fear having to close premises and 36% think the disease could put them out of business.

Find all of our coronavirus coverage here.

Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of communications & campaigns, said: “The time the Government has got to act in securing cashflow security for Suffolk businesses must be measured in hours and days, not weeks and months. Suffolk Chamber staff are doing everything they can to directly help our members and signpost them as needed to other sources of support. However, the present needs of otherwise good and growing businesses is for massive Government action to call at least a three month moratorium on taxes which eat away at company margins in times like this: business rates, commercial rents, NI and VAT.”

Suffolk Chamber say they are lobbying Suffolk’s 7 MPs on behalf of businesses.

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