Polling shows scale of Covid-19 impact on London business


New figures from London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) shine a light on the impact of Covid-19 on the capital’s businesses, including the use of the furlough scheme, the ongoing threat of redundancies, and permanent business change.

LCCI worked with Savanta ComRes to interview 500 London business leaders online between 30 April and 2 June about the impact of Covid-19 on their business. Headline figures show:

  • 28% of London businesses have furloughed at least one member of their staff.
  • A much higher share (64%) of larger companies (10+ staff) have furloughed at least one employee, compared to 24% of micro firms (1-9 staff).
  • Among the 35% of business leaders of firms that have furloughed or plan to furlough employees, 23% of this group said that unless their business’s conditions improve by the end of the scheme* they will have to lay off all furloughed staff.
  • 39% of those have furloughed or plan to furlough employees said that unless conditions improve by the end of the scheme they will have to lay off some furloughed staff, and pay the wages of those who are retained themselves.
  • 13% of business leaders said they thought they will make shifting to working from home completely and not using a permanent commercial office standard practice once the lockdown has ended.
  • 9% have permanently closed physical premises.

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Richard Burge, LCCI chief executive, said: “The Government’s economic support package has been unprecedented and business is grateful for the support during this difficult time.

“Our research shows close to a third of London businesses using the furlough scheme, but also the ongoing risk of redundancies amongst those firms if economic conditions haven’t significantly improved as the scheme is scaled back.

“It is clear already that sectors like aviation, tourism, hospitality and leisure are going to see a delayed recovery. We urge the Government to stay open to the need of targeted sector support. And one measure that the Government could implement now is to raise the rateable value cap from £51,000 to £150,000.

“This will allow over 19,000 additional retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in London to access business rates grant support in order to help them to survive and play a key part in the capital’s recovery.”

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