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Revealed: The extent of virus damage to UK businesses

by LLB Editor

New analysis from Xero, the global small business platform, has revealed the extent of COVID-19’s impact on UK small business employment and revenue between March and May 2020.

This shows a 28% drop in revenue and a six per cent decline in employment. Late payments to UK small businesses increased by 7.8 days between February and May 2020.

Based on anonymised and aggregated data from Xero customers in the UK, Xero’s Small Business Insights (SBI) reveals a significant downturn in revenues and jobs during the period and examines the data across industries and regions. The new findings underpin Xero’s Roadmap to Recovery manifesto, launched today to call for extra government support to help SMEs rebuild.

Xero SBI payroll data indicates that small business employment has fallen by 6% on average between March and May 2020, even before the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme reduces its support over the coming months.

Small businesses in the hospitality sector saw the largest number of job losses of 10.8% in April and a further 3.1% in May, followed by the rental, hiring and real estate sector which saw job losses of 3.2% in April and 6.9% in May.

Although the impact of COVID-19 has been felt across the country, the data showed that small businesses in the East Midlands suffered from the most job losses, with a 3.7% fall in April and 8.5% fall in May. Comparatively, small businesses in the South of England saw a 6.3 per cent fall in job losses in April, with a 0.1%fall in May.

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