Business tracker

Firms ready to restart work within three weeks

Adam Marshall

Adam Marshall: communication must begin immediately (pic: Terry Murden)

Most companies say they could be ready to restart within three weeks while some could be up and running immediately, according to a new survey.

One in four require no notice while only 3% would need more than three weeks, according to the latest British Chambers of Commerce Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker.

Smaller businesses may be able to restart operations more quickly. Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents employing fewer than 10 people say they would need less than a week.

BCC director general Dr Adam Marshall said:  “Over the coming days, business communities will require clear forward guidance from government on plans to re-open parts of the economy, transport networks, schools and local services.

“Our results show that businesses’ ability to restart quickly varies by company size, and by sector.

“For these reasons and more, it will be crucial for the government to maintain and evolve support for businesses, to give as many firms as possible the chance to navigate a phased return to work.

“While the fight against Coronavirus must remain the top priority, the communication of plans for the easing of restrictions must also begin immediately. The Chamber Network will continue to work constructively with governments across the UK to plan a coherent path forward.”

For firms of all sizes:

  • 25% would not need any notice
  • 35% would need less than a week’s notice
  • 29% would need one to three weeks’ notice
  • 7% would need three to six weeks’ notice
  • 3% would need more than 3 weeks’ notice

The number of firms accessing the government’s Job Retention Scheme remains consistent with previous weeks, with around 74% of respondents furloughing a portion of their staff. The scheme remains a crucial support for businesses to preserve jobs and livelihoods.

Encouragingly, since the scheme’s online application portal opened on 20 April, the vast majority of respondents (59%) have submitted a claim and received payment from HMRC. This week’s results do not report any firms being rejected. 

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