In May, we surveyed our 77,000 strong client base to help reinforce our message to the government about our continued concerns over the directors, self-employed individuals and independent businesses who continue to be overlooked in the Government’s support schemes.
Below you will find a round-up of the key findings from our survey, findings which have been used to raise awareness of the issues facing businesses through coverage in The Times, Business Money, SME Web and more. The data has also been used to support coverage of the “forgotten” 5% petition, which urges the Government to address the measures which are currently failing to support all those in need.
In this survey we collected responses from over 3,700 small business owners, directors and self-employed individuals.
The severity of the impact of COVID-19
Only a handful of businesses believe they will emerge from the crisis unscathed. 79% of respondents say the crisis has significantly impacted their business. A mere 2% say it has not affected them at all.
The top-ranking concern – by a significant margin – was loss of income. A staggering 91% are concerned about loss of income, 28% are concerned about lost productivity and 28% fear business closure.
Of those who were concerned about lost income, 61% fear losing up to 100 of their income. Over 75% are worried that they will lose at least half of their income.
Which of the following are a concern for you at the moment? (Tick all that apply)
If you are concerned about losing income over the next 3 months, how much are you predicting to lose?
Eight out of ten (80%) say they expect to have cashflow problems at some stage, with just shy of a third (30%) expecting cashflow to be an issue immediately. Despite this, 79% do not plan to put together a cashflow forecast to address this concern.
For those respondents where it was applicable; 43% have deferred their quarterly VAT payment by taking advantage of the VAT Payment Holiday and 40% will benefit from the automatic deferral of income tax payments for the 2019/20 tax year.
17% did not know that the VAT Payment Holiday was available. Almost a third (31%) were not aware of the income tax deferral.
Of those respondents with premises, 27% have agreed a rental holiday with their landlord. 30% of those that asked their landlord were declined.
Do you anticipate your business having cashflow problems?
Will you be putting together a cashflow forecast this month?
The majority of respondents (84%) were concerned about their eligibility for funding and 5% had already been declined funding. However, 87% had either; not yet approached their lender (61%) to discuss their options; or did not feel financing applied to them (26%).
How concerned are you about your eligibility for funding?
Have you approached your lender to apply for finance?
Has your lender offered you funding via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILs)
66% of the respondents with staff had already furloughed their staff and a further 16% planned to furlough in future. Over a third (39%) were topping up the 80% Government support in full, so that staff continued to receive 100% of the salary. Just over half (55%) of employers were only paying the 80% provided by the Government, with the remainder of employers making a partial top up to help employees.
If you employ staff, have you begun furloughing staff yet? (Tick any that apply)
If you are furloughing, or will furlough staff, will you be topping up the Government financial support?
Just a quarter (26%) of respondents fully understand the government help that is available to them. Only 14% of respondents feel that the government is doing enough to support them, whereas 28% think that the government has done enough to support the economy.