The business sector in the United Kingdom has taken a huge hit, as the COVID-19 lockdown continues to wipe out the revenue of thousands of companies across the country.
British consumer spending has fallen sharply over the last few months, much worse than the damage caused by the 2008 financial crisis.
Despite the Government’s care packages in the form of various loan schemes, many UK businesses were forced to close their offices and shops since March. A quarter of firms in the United Kingdom have closed or temporarily paused their trading as of April due to coronavirus outbreak, according to data gathered by LearnBonds.
More than 80% arts, entertainment and businesses shut their doors
The UK Government has introduced several initiatives to support businesses that are struggling due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus. The stimulus package includes loans, tax relief, and cash grants. Employers can also apply for staff to get up to 80% of their pay up to £2,500 if they can’t work, while self-employed Britons can also receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least three months.
Nevertheless, the UK’s Office for National Statistics survey conducted between 23 March and 9 April showed these measures just weren’t enough to prevent the collapse of some business sectors.
Arts, entertainment, and recreation sector were devastated by the health crisis, with more than 82% of them temporarily locking their shops and offices.
Accommodation and food service activities ranked as the second most-affected market with 81.2% of companies closed amid coronavirus lockdown. Statistics show that more than 29% of construction companies in the United Kingdom also had to close due to the pandemic. Wholesale and retail trade and manufacturing followed closing 27% and 22% of businesses, respectively.
Human health, social work and technical activities the least affected
The UK’s Office for National Statistics data revealed that most businesses are not confident they have enough financial backing to stay open after the coronavirus outbreak passes, especially considering the economy contracted before the pandemic.
Although keen to open their shops and offices again, Britons are still grappling with government guidance on how to return to work safely.
Director general of the Confederation of British Industry, Carolyn Fairbairn, said, “While stopping work was necessarily fast and immediate, restarting will be slower and more complex. It must go hand in hand with plans for schools, transport, testing, and PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] access. Firms will want to see a roadmap, with dates they can plan for.”
Statistics show that human health and social work jobs, scientific and technical activities and information and communication represent the least affected sectors in the United Kingdom, with 5.1%, 3.7% and 3.5% of businesses closed, respectively.