Businesses 'fear more job cuts this year' as pandemic goes on



Almost half of UK businesses fear they may have to cut jobs again before the end of the year, a new poll has shown.

The survey for Censuswide and Virgin Money found 42% of small and medium sized enterprises think they will have a smaller workforce in December than they did in September.

And almost a quarter feared they could go out of business in the next year if the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic hits the economy hard.

The survey was carried out ahead of the end of the UK Government’s original furlough scheme on October 31. But it was completed before the Government announcement of more measures to help businesses.

Some 501 decision makers at small and medium sized enterprises were asked between September 4 and September 7 about their plans for the future.

The poll found that 17% of businesses think it is very or somewhat likely that they will be forced to close in the next 12 months. That figure rises to 24% if there were a second national lockdown.

“The results make for sober reading, but they are unsurprising given the extraordinary disruption of the last six months,” said Gavin Opperman, group business director at Virgin Money.

He added: “While the Chancellor’s newly announced schemes may help stave off the worst of the closures over Christmas, both the Government and the banks need to look for pragmatic ways to provide support for SMEs and the economy moving forward.”



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