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Scotland: Industry update issue 3

Much has continued to be said and written about the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business owners and the wider economy.

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 – conducted during the second national lockdown - we again 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?

Firms have continued to see their cash flow negatively impacted, with 45% seeing a reduction of up to 25%, slightly ahead of the national sentiment (39%).

Q: How has your business’s cash flow been affected by COVID-19?

  • No change: 21%
  • 25% reduction: 45%
  • 50% reduction: 17%
  • 75% reduction: 12%
  • 100% reduction: 2%
  • Unsure: 3%

In terms of future staffing, do you believe your business will return?

The dial hasn’t moved much on the results to this question, with nearly the same number of firms (by percentage) in Scotland (43%) expecting to return to full operational capacity with the same number of people than the UK average (40%).

Over a third (35%) will be returning with fewer people, which is down from 40% in the last survey;  9% who will be looking to enlarge their workforce while for a further 14% 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)?

Half of businesses in Scotland have made use of the government’s furlough scheme, up from 38% in the survey.

These figures are closely in line with the UK averages.

Have you made a COVID-19 Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) application?

Over a fifth (22%) of Scottish firms have successfully applied for a CBILS loan, which is on par with the UK average of 23%. A further 21% have been declined, three times as many when compared to the earlier survey. Half have not made an application because they did not feel it was necessary.

In the current circumstances, do you feel that your business requires you to be ‘always on’?

Three fifths of Scottish business owners are feeling pressure to always ‘be on’, leading 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.  

The full results are available for download on our free-to-use SME Data Hub.