Much has been said and written about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business owners and the wider economy, and at Close Brothers Asset Finance we’ve continued to commission research throughout the lockdown and during the lifting of restrictions.
In our most recent research we asked business owners, including those in Scotland, a number of questions relating to COVID-19 and its impact, the results of which are provided, below.
How has your business’s cash flow been affected by COVID-19?
As expected, most firms have seen their cash flow negatively impacted, with the most commonly selected figure being a 25% - 49% reduction and closely matching the national sentiment.
In terms of future staffing, do you believe your business will return?
Nearly the same number of firms (by percentage) in Scotland (40%) will be returning to full operational capacity with the same number of people than the UK average (39%).
Unfortunately, 45% (UK: 44%) will be returning with fewer people against 8% who will be looking to enlarge their workforce. For a further 8% it’s ‘too early to tell’.
Have you made use of the government’s furlough scheme for staff (temporary COVID-19 wage subsidy scheme in Ireland)?
Significantly fewer businesses in Scotland admitted to making use of the government’s furlough scheme (38% v 50%) when compared to the UK as a whole.
53% of businesses in Scotland (UK: 44%) said they hadn’t yet needed to furlough their employees, while 9% said they’d consider it in the future, if it was still available.
Have you made a COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) application?
Close to a quarter (23%) of Scottish firms had successfully applied for a CBILS loan, which is on par with the UK average of 23% and significantly more than several other regions. Only 7% had been declined while 50% had not made an application because they did not feel it was necessary; 20% were on the fence about applying.
In the current circumstances, do you feel that your business requires you to be ‘always on’?
Nearly two thirds (63%) of Scottish business owners are feeling pressure to always ‘be on’, higher than the UK average of 57%. This has led to nearly all of those polled saying they have put in place steps to reduce their stress and anxiety, including maintaining a routine, taking regular breaks and staying organised.