The results of a new survey by the Chamber of Commerce has revealed that as many as one in three businesses are set to make redundancies as they try to recover from the Government’s Coronavirus lockdown.
Over 400 Lancashire businesses responded to the “Beyond the Curve” survey run by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber and the East Lancashire Chamber at the beginning of May. The survey asked businesses what measures they had taken to keep trading during lockdown and what support they might need as the try to rebuild over the coming weeks.
As well as making redundancies, 14% of employers will also be asking staff to take wage cuts as they seek to improve company finances in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The survey also reveals that 50% of businesses have taken advantage of government backed loan schemes to keep trading whilst 70% have furloughed workers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Worryingly, the survey also shows that 54% of businesses either have no cash reserves at all, or only enough reserves to cover them for 3 months trading thus further highlighting the importance of the government’s fiscal support packages.
Commenting on the results, Babs Murphy, Chief Executive of the North & Western Lancashire Chamber said:
“It will be some time before we can assess the full impact of the lockdown but there are clearly going to be significant job losses in the short-term. The Chamber of Commerce network has campaigned hard to get the furlough scheme extended as this will be crucial to protecting jobs and supporting the recovery in the months ahead.
“The ability to bring furloughed workers back part-time will be crucial for many businesses as they rebuild capacity. We’re delighted the Chancellor has listened to our members on this as well as our calls to extend the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
“The survey also shows that many businesses are having cashflow difficulties and we would urge everybody to try and pay suppliers as quickly as possible or offer extended credit terms if their finances allow.”
Miranda Barker, Chief Executive of the East Lancashire Chamber also commented:
“Continued support from government and the banking sector will be key to business recovery over the coming months. Moreover, we must also encourage the whole of the Lancashire business community to try to rebuild our local supply chains.
“But most especially, we need strategic action to support our sectors under pressure to help diversify into new growth fields, such as rail, military aerospace, nuclear and low carbon technologies.”