One in four businesses want furlough scheme extended beyond September

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
July 20, 2021, 9:34 AM UTC

The number of firms in favour of extending the government’s coronavirus support measures is up from one in six in March

Labour has warned that not extending the furlough scheme and businesses rates relief when lockdown is being delayed will push companies into bankruptcy. Their pleas are falling on deaf ears, however, as the Treasury insists that there are sufficient measures in place.

A survey of 1,061 senior business decision makers shows one in four companies (23%) would prefer the COVID-19 support measures to be extended further – up from 16% in March.

Meanwhile, approaching half of business leaders (46%) are content with the support measures ending in September – a fall of 5 points. A fifth (19%) would like to see them end sooner, similar to in March (22%).

How many businesses are still receiving government support?

One in six businesses (17%) report still relying on financial support from the government to weather the pandemic, rising to two in five among hospitality and leisure companies (40%). Overall, this means the number of companies receiving financial help has dropped by 8 points since March.

Only two in five businesses (43%) report not having received any support at all during the pandemic.  

Since the end of March, the share of businesses with no furloughed workers has also risen to 70%, up from 63%. Around one in ten companies (10%) say half or more of their staff are on furlough, down from 15%.

But while some businesses struggle to get back on their feet with the remaining coronavirus uncertainty, a somewhat more surprising issue has emerged. Three in ten business decision makers (31%) say their company has struggled to fill vacancies since the end of March. This is despite the fact that one in 20 people who are looking for a job can’t find one.

Medium-sized companies, employing 50 to 249 staff, are the most likely to struggle, with half (49%) saying this applies to them, while smaller businesses are much less likely to at 17%.

See the full results here