Only a third of businesses fully confident of retaining furloughed staff

The Opinium-Cebr Business Distress Tracker checks the pulse of the UK business community on a fortnightly basis, as firms across the country grapple with the unprecedented challenges brought about by the coronavirus crisis. The tracker is based on a survey of 500 business across the country, representing a broad range of industries and business sizes.

Topline results

With the furlough scheme drawing to a close in October, a surge in unemployment is on the cards. Only a third of businesses said that they would definitely retain all of their furloughed staff, while nearly one in five (18%) indicated that they would not be doing so.

Business conditions continued to improve in July, but only at a modest pace. Businesses’ profits are 26% lower than would have been expected were it not for the coronavirus crisis. This is only a slight improvement on the 29% figure recorded at the height of lockdown in mid-April.

The continued easing of lockdown restrictions contributed to an uptick in business sentiment. The share of businesses with a positive assessment of current trading conditions (34%) is now similar to the share with a negative assessment (35%).

Despite the reopening of the hospitality sector on July 4th, 80% of businesses in this sector had a negative assessment of current trading conditions in the latest survey (carried out between 9th July and 15th July). This suggests that for most pubs, restaurants and hotels, social distancing requirements, low numbers of tourists and many people’s reluctance to venture out mean that the business remains tough.

See the full report here: