Impact of coronavirus on businesses in Suffolk ‘universal’ new survey says

Suffolk Chamber of commer has warned impact of coronavirus on businesses is now "universal". Picture

Suffolk Chamber of commer has warned impact of coronavirus on businesses is now "universal". Pictured John Dugmore head of Suffolk Chamber Picture: DAVID GARRARD - Credit: Archant

Only 2% of businesses in Suffolk are not affected by coronavirus and 86% are worried about a loss of income according to Suffollk Chamber’s weekly survey.

Of the 176 businesses which responded to the poll, 98% are now feeling the effects of COVID-19. This is up from 92% last week, and 64% two weeks ago.

The main worry for Suffolk firms is loss of the income in the short or medium term and what this will do to their cashflow.

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As the number of those diagnosed with the virus increases, more businesses are struggling with availability of staff – 45% – compared to last week – 38%.

Other issues are affecting roughly the same number of businesses as they were last week. For instance, 34% of firms are having supply chain issues – 35% last week – while 44% are struggling to get customers in the UK compared to 42% last week. Slightly fewer companies are struggling to get customers abroad this week – 14% down from 17%.

Just over 40% of businesses now think the government is doing a good job of communicating with them, compare to around 30% in previous weeks.

But respondents to the survey asked for more detail around the government proposal which would let companies layoff employees with them still receiving 80% of their salary up to £2,500 per month. Businesses also want to be able to access funds from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme as soon as possible in an effort to ease their cashflow problems. Self-employed respondents asked they receive financial support from the government – a measure that is expected to be announced later today.

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Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of communications and campaigns, said: “The impact of COVID-19 on Suffolk plc is now universal. While the Government has both stepped up the effectiveness of its messaging and launched a range of welcome initiatives to ensure businesses can continue trading by boosting their cashflow situations, we now need to see those words translated into actions with immediate effect. Questions need to be answered and the level of bureaucracy needed to administer these schemes needs to be cut back to an absolute minimum to protect these companies and protect jobs.”

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