New COVID measures hit NW business confidence

According to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank, business confidence in the North West fell three points during September amid new COVID-19 measures. Tony McDonough reports

New control measures have been introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19


New measures to control the spread of COVID-19 has hit business confidence among North West firms, a new study reveals.

According to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank, business confidence in the North West fell three points during September to -13% as more than two thirds (68%) experienced a fall in demand for their products and services.

August had offered signs of recovery as the UK came out of the initial lockdown with a boost for retail sales and the success of the Government’s ‘Eat Our to Help Out’ scheme which offered a boost to restaurants.

However, as COVID-19 cases again began to rise in September new restrictions were introduced by the Government, with the North West the worst affected region. The survey, which questions 1,200 businesses monthly, showed just 11% experienced an increase in demand in September, down six points on August.

The September data also suggests many businesses expect to make redundancies following the end of the furlough scheme next month, although fewer than the national average.

READ MORE: Hospitality sector at risk of collapse, say city leaders

When asked about job retention among firms with furloughed staff, 29% of North West firms expect to bring back more than 90% of their employees. Across the UK, that figure is just 23%. Just under 30% of North West firms aren’t currently using the Job Retention Scheme.

When asked about the impact of social distancing measures, 64% of businesses said they could, in theory, operate at full capacity while remaining COVID-secure, although a fifth (20%) said they couldn’t operate fully within the rules.

Of the 73% of businesses reporting disruption to their supply chain during September, 37% expect the situation to improve within three months, while only 7% expect it will take more than 12 months to return to normal levels.

Martyn Kendrick, regional director for the North West at Lloyds Bank, said: “Confidence among the North West’s SMEs had been on the rise over the summer, but a challenging autumn and winter, underpinned by further COVID-19 disruption, will be weighing on their outlook.

“National restrictions now effect the few areas that didn’t already fall under local lockdown. The tightening of measures across the region could dampen demand dynamics and create a difficult few months to come. We’ll be by the side of North West businesses as they navigate the challenges ahead.”

You might also like More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Username field is empty.