ONS: 65% of Scottish businesses report decrease in turnover amid coronavirus pandemic
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 65% of Scottish businesses have reported a drop in turnover outside of the normal range between April 20 and May 3.
The figures, released in the coronavirus and the economic impacts on the UK report, have also revealed that 61% of firm in England reported a drop, with 66% in Wales and 63% in Northern Ireland also citing a drop in earnings.
Of the respondents to the survey, just 6% had highlighted that they had restarted trading in the last two weeks as England reduced its coronavirus lockdown measures.
The ONS has revealed that across the UK, the accommodation and food services activities sector had the largest proportion of the workforce furloughed across businesses who have not permanently stopped trading, at 78%, in the period 20 April to 3 May 2020.
The report has also shown that the most popular government schemes applied for by businesses who have not permanently stopped trading between 20 April and 3 May 2020, were the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Deferring VAT Payments Scheme, at 76% and 59% respectively.
Of all businesses who have not permanently stopped trading, 4% reported they had no cash reserves at all.
Dr Kerstin Braun, president of global trade finance provider Stenn Group, said: “The Bank of England warns that the UK economy could shrink by 14% in 2020, the most severe contraction on record. Fortunately, after nearly 2 months on lockdown, it appears that the peak has passed, and the UK can begin to contemplate recovery.
“The economic rebound will happen at a slower pace than anyone wants. GDP growth was already flat leading into the pandemic, with uncertainty surrounding the election and Brexit hampering key sectors such as auto manufacturing and retail.
“As the country reopens, spending by consumers and business will be cautious, reflecting both wariness and fewer financial resources. The necessary social distancing measures will be limiting as well, since shops, restaurants, plants, and offices will be unable to operate at full capacity. However, the GDP drop in 2020 should be erased by gains in 2021.
“One huge unknown is Brexit. A hard exit following on the heels of the COVID-19 crisis, with potential tariff increases and paperwork confusion, could prove to be a perfect storm for UK firms. If COVID-19 fails to sink them, a messy Brexit could.”
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