Winter wave of pandemic extinguishes vaccine-induced optimism

The Opinium-Cebr Business Distress Tracker checks the pulse of the UK business community on a monthly basis, as firms across the country grapple with the unprecedented challenges brought about by the coronavirus crisis.

The winter wave of the coronavirus pandemic continued to batter British businesses in January. An estimated 1.8 million businesses are at risk of insolvency as a result of coronavirus-related disruption, including 336,000 that face a high risk of insolvency.

Business sentiment witnessed further falls in January, with just over a third (35%) of firms reporting positive trading conditions at present. This compares to a reading of 39% last month, which was taken after the approval of coronavirus vaccines but before the full severity of the current wave of the pandemic had become apparent.

  • A more encouraging finding is that the tightening of restrictions in January has not led to a dramatic deterioration in profits. To the contrary, businesses on average said that their profits were 18% lower over the past 30 days as a result of coronavirus-related disruption. This is a slight improvement on the 20% reduction in profits seen in December.
  • Only one-third (33%) of firms say that the introduction of the third national lockdown in January will not have an effect on their business, with more than one in five (21%) stating that they will have to delay planned investments as a result of the tightening of restrictions.

See the full report here: