BCC Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker:

Fieldwork was conducted before the Chancellor announced the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of October.

Bounce Back Loans Scheme – Over a third (36 per cent) of respondents have either attempted to use the Bounce Back Loan scheme or have plans to access it.

However, 62 per cent of respondents said they had no intention of applying for a Bounce Back Loan. Reasons for not attempting to access the scheme varied between firms with more than three months in cash, and those with less than three months.

Overall, 19 per cent of firms stated they had concerns about repaying the loan. However, this figure rose to 28 per cent among those with less than 3 months’ cash in reserve, and fell to 14 per cent for those with more than 3 months’ cash in reserve.

Commenting on the results BCC Director General Dr Adam Marshall said:

On business furloughing employees – “The Job Retention Scheme has been successful in its aim to protect livelihoods and its extension will come as a huge help and a huge relief for businesses across the UK.

“The government should continue to listen to business and evolve the scheme in line with what’s happening on the ground. Further, phased support may yet be needed for companies who are unable to operate for an extended period, or those who face reduced capacity or demand due to ongoing restrictions.”

On the announcement of workplace guidance – “Government guidance signals big changes for the way that many businesses operate, and some firms will now need time to plan and speak to their employees so that they can return to work safely.

“Alongside this guidance, businesses urgently need clarity on the future of government support schemes, which must be adapted to help those firms who need to remain closed for an extended period or face reduced capacity or demand.”

On Bounce Back Loans – “The Bounce Back Loans scheme has made an encouraging start and will provide help for smaller businesses that are struggling to stay afloat.

“However, as our research reveals, many smaller, cash-strapped firms are unwilling or unable to take on more debt. Government must therefore be ready to further expand existing grant schemes to ensure that as many businesses as possible get access to the support they need.”

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