One in seven UK companies 'fear collapse' over COVID-19

·2-min read
Closeup on medical mask and hand disinfectant and stressed woman in background in temporary home office during the coronavirus epidemic in the house in sunny day.
14% of British business owners have 'low or no confidence' they will survive the next 12 weeks. Photo: Getty

One in seven companies are concerned that they are at risk of collapse in the next three months, according to the Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The survey found that 14% of British business owners held these fears, saying they had “low or no confidence” in their survival over the next 12 weeks.

Across all industries, 7% of businesses said they expected to temporarily or permanently close a site in the next two weeks, including among 25% of accommodation and food service firms.

Shopping footfall in Scotland, Northern Ireland and English regions also saw a decline, according to the ONS. Total online job postings saw only a slight increase to 68% between 6 November and 13 November 2020, as compared to the 2019 average.

These figures all point to sluggish economic growth for the UK economy, amid further lockdowns and rising COVID-19 case numbers and fatalities.

The ONS estimates that 9% of the workforce was on furlough during the two weeks to 1 November, including 34% of people in the arts, entertainment, and recreation.

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The UK government has been trying to keep the economy afloat in the face of the pandemic. Earlier on Thursday, the British government said it would give banks guarantees on £65.48bn ($88.24bn) of lending to businesses hit by the coronavirus as of 15 November. That is up from £61.93bn a month earlier, according to finance ministry data referenced by Reuters.

The most significant portion of the lending will be to small businesses. Banks will receive a 100% state guarantee to support them on the £42.18bn of loans that have been made.

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