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North Warwickshire Business Survey finds small businesses are resilient despite of the global pandemic and grateful for the Borough Council’s support

Published on Tuesday, 19th October 2021

Following the lifting of lockdown restrictions, North Warwickshire Borough Council conducted a business survey to understand the challenges local businesses face as the economy recovers and to help identify support measures.

The global pandemic took a major toll on the local economy leading to temporary, and sadly some permanent, closures, stringent social distancing measures, and stay-at-home recommendations that made it incredibly difficult for local businesses in North Warwickshire to operate.

68 businesses responded to the North Warwickshire Business Survey. 97% of respondents were small, micro businesses or sole traders. The survey heard from established businesses with 50% having been in business for 10 or more years with only 10% having been in business under two years.

The results highlighted retail, tourism, leisure, and hospitality as the sectors most affected and highlighted the complexity and variety of economic challenges of all businesses including:

Challenges

  • 83% described how they have been adversely affected by the pandemic, whilst 7% identified that their business had in fact grown.  
  • 76% had been financially affected by the pandemic
  • 60 % businesses had to deal with temporary and/or permanent closure,
  • 52% furloughed staff,
  • 48% had changed their future programmes, ambitions for/of employee growth.
  • 47% taken out a business loan
  • 41% taken on debt
  • 29% reduced staff & cut wages,
  • 26% changed business operations
  • 19% had experienced active cashflow measures.

In terms of how businesses would rate North Warwickshire Borough Council’s response during the pandemic 74% rated the Council very good or good. In relation to contacting the Council 63% of businesses had accessed support and information and 80% had been in receipt of a business grant. Despite the physical and financial obstacles 45% of respondents were optimistic about the future over the next 6 months.

The Council will now work with partners to offer a range of support services to help embed this recovery as part the wider recovery programme for the Borough.

Leader of the Council Cllr David Wright said, “All sectors have faced un-paralleled pressures from finance, temporary and permanent closures, staffing issues and debt. The extent to which businesses had to cope with multiple issues is stark.

A range of financial support was made available for employers, self-employed, sole traders unlimited company directors where eligible businesses had access to loans, tax relief and cash grants whether the business was open or closed.

This survey has shown that our support as a council was gratefully received and that our small businesses are resilient and adaptable despite the impacts of a global pandemic. We will offer a range of support to our businesses to build on this optimism and hopefully ensure our economy continues to bounce back strongly.”