• 02/05/2020

The results of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s fourth Business Monitor survey supported by Manchester Law Society and pro-manchester show the scale of economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic on local businesses.

The latest data set shows that the trend of low customer demand, cash flow pressures and business concerns continue. Most businesses (83%) are still worried about falling demand and the consequent impact on their cash reserves (62%). Nearly a fifth of businesses are also worried about having to lay off staff should the situation not improve and having staff available to meet current demand. As a result, business confidence is very low and only a small minority of businesses are confident of being able to maintain revenues and profits over the coming weeks.

The data highlights why the support schemes announced by the UK government are important. Awareness of support measures continues to be high, but the actual delivery of support has been mixed. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been the most successful support measure. Nearly two-thirds of businesses have decided to put at least some of their employees on furlough. The CJRS portal opened for applications on 20th April and, as the government had promised, many businesses did receive payments within the six working days. The experience of accessing loans under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is quite different: just over a fifth of respondents reported having applied for loans but a similar number also reported difficulties obtaining loans. The low take-up also raises valid concerns around whether businesses want to take on more debt at a time of crisis and uncertainty It remains to be seen whether the newly announced Bounce Back Loan addresses gaps in CBILS.


The fourth Business Monitor survey was conducted between Friday 17th April and Thursday 23rd April and captured the views of 108 businesses.  The full report is available here.

The fourth week Business Monitor survey is now underway and can be filled in using this link.