3 April 2020
Half of firms will furlough staff due to COVID-19

According to the latest research released by British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), nearly half of all UK-based firms will furlough around half of their workforce over the upcoming week. The survey which polled its members to discover the next steps for UK businesses revealed that 44% of businesses will temporarily cease all activities for half of their workforces in an effort to wait out coronavirus’ effects on the global economy.

It comes as no surprise that businesses are struggling, with most companies reporting a significant decrease in their revenue from both here and abroad. The BCC report found that 18% of businesses currently have less than a month’s worth of cash in reserve, while 44% reported only one to three months’ worth. It also highlighted that only 6% reported having more than 12 months’ cash in reserve.

Director General for the BCC, Dr Adam Marshall, told Sky News:

“The coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on business and economic activity across the UK. While businesses have welcomed the unprecedented size and scope of the government support packages, our findings highlight the urgent need for that support to reach businesses on the ground as soon as possible. The majority of firms cannot wait weeks or months for help to arrive.”

“There is no escaping the challenge that is facing UK businesses and many are finding ways to contribute to the national effort. Chambers and its members are working together to play their part, including gathering unused PPE equipment from local businesses and delivering them to the NHS,”

“I’ve no doubt we will see further examples of resilience and innovation – the hallmarks of the UK business community – in the coming weeks and months.”

The owner of the Premier Inn chain, British Airways and the Evening Standard, Whitbread, are among the newest names to announce that they will be putting staff on furlough due to the devastating financial ramifications of the current coronavirus pandemic.

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