COVID-19 – Business Impact Survey

The Business Impact Survey is now closed and BOSS have been feeding the information provided on how businesses have been affected by COVID-19 directly to government

Below BOSS shares its initial findings and asks you to participate in a quick poll of three further questions.
The survey identified that nearly one-quarter (23%) have reported a significant increase in bad debt exposure, with 71% of respondents experiencing debtors withholding payment due to the uncertainty COVID-19 has created. To help BOSS raise this further with BEIS you can participate in the confidential poll HERE:
Business Impact Survey Findings
These results are based on the response from companies in the UK Business Supplies and Printing industries. The survey was carried out during the period 23 March to 06 April 2020. The combined turnover of the 596 fully responding companies is over £3.1 billion in businesses employing more than 22,000 people. BOSS will keep you updated on their lobbying efforts and further insights into the full survey research shortly.
Snapshot summary:

  • Over one-third (36%) of respondents have experienced considerable disruption to their supply chain as a result of coronavirus.
  • 40% are confident (‘very’ or ‘somewhat’) that supply chains will be maintained. However, comments allude that supply chain security is more at risk as staff shortages increase and a dichotomy between firms remaining operational and others shutting down stresses supply chains.
  • Nearly three-quarters (74%) or respondents have reported a ‘considerable downturn’ in order levels. The average change in order levels, from the expected monthly level, was -65%.
  • 40% of firms are ‘extremely concerned’ about the short-term* survival of their clients’ businesses (*next three months).
  • On average 27% of responding firms’ business is supporting critical services (in the food, pharmaceutical, health & social care, education, public services and local government sectors).
  • Just over one-third of respondents (34%) are ‘extremely concerned’ about the short-term survival of their own business. Slightly more, 38% are ‘extremely concerned’ about long-term* survival (*beyond six months).
  • Nearly one-quarter (23%) have reported a significant increase in bad debt exposure. Furthermore, 71% have experienced debtors withholding payment due to the uncertainty.
  • Over three-quarters (77%) require some degree of emergency assistance to maintain cashflow, cover costs and survive – 38% stated that they require this assistance either ‘immediately’ or ‘in the next week or two’.
  • Over one-quarter (27%) have already made redundancies – for these companies the level of redundancies averaged at 41% of the workforce.
  • Further redundancies are expected (18% ‘definitely’, 22% ‘probably’ and 29% ‘maybe’) in the short-term. The average expected level of redundancies is 37% of the workforce.
  • A majority of companies have implemented COVID-19 prevention measures, the most common being social distancing (91%), working from home (86%), banning visitors (74%), banning off-site meetings (69%) and banning business travel (65%).
  • Regarding ratings of the Government’s response – the extensiveness and timeliness of the Government’s support measures have received positive ratings, on balance. However, access to this support has received a negative rating. 15% selecting ‘very poor’ and 26% ‘poor’ clearly outweighs the 20% selecting ‘good’ and 2% ‘very good’.
  • The most commonly suggested additional support from Government is extended grant support and business rates relief (78%) and a deferment of VAT, PAYE and NIC payments (77%).

BOSS will release a full review shortly.
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