A survey by Growth Platform, the City Region’s Growth Company, reveals the risks to city region businesses, as well as the priority support needed during the coronavirus outbreak
Survey data, collected days before the Prime Minister announced stricter restrictions on people and businesses, has revealed that 95% of Liverpool City Region businesses were already significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The survey was created by Growth Platform and sent to over 12,000 businesses across the region, as part of the Metro Mayor’s drive to understand the specific challenges faced by the region’s businesses and shedding light on what kind of support they will need during the outbreak.
Growth Platform was set up in 2019 by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, on behalf of the Combined Authority. Its aim is to deliver sustainable economic growth, and good jobs in the City Region.
In response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the Metro Mayor is leading an economic resilience plan, one focus of which is tactical business support which will be delivered by Growth Platform. As part of this approach, the Metro Mayor is leading a weekly call bringing together the city region’s business leaders. A key part of the plan is understanding and supporting the 50,000 city region businesses, of which 99% are SMEs and 80% have less than ten employees.
Speaking on the impact on local businesses and next steps for the region, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said:
“The spread of the Coronavirus is having a massive impact on every aspect of our daily lives. Our survey lays bare its adverse impact on local businesses.
“Whilst our primary responsibilities are to ensure we stop the spread of Covid19, I want to do all I can to help safeguard people’s jobs and livelihoods. This feedback is so useful in the conversations I am having with government about the support that businesses in our region need and to help us as we develop a devolved support package.
“The measures announced by the Chancellor are mostly welcome, but lots of organisations have already been in contact about the need for the pace of action to be speeded up.”
The survey data collected to date indicates that:
- 72% of business have had a decrease in sales & bookings
- 58% of business are facing cashflow issues
- 42% of business currently have staff in isolation, with 90% of these citing it as a major hinderance to operations
- 26% are experiencing supply chain issues
- 65% of local businesses are struggling with sick pay
The survey also revealed the key areas of support needed by business, with city region business owners citing the following areas as necessary for helping them navigate these challenges:
- 60% need short term working capital
- 52% need longer term finance
- 51% need more information
- 30% need financial advice
10-20% need HR, Insurance and legal advice
Mark Basnett, Managing Director at Growth Platform explained:
“We are working closely with the network of business support organisations and Local Authority teams across the City Region who are doing a brilliant job providing support to local businesses. We are all sharing intelligence and collaborating on the priority needs of business at this challenging time. To support them and help businesses further, Growth Platform has refocused its team to provide additional frontline response for businesses and partners. This is a brokerage service into the range of Government schemes and access to further specialist support from local professional services firms offering their services on a pro bono basis.”
The Metro Mayor has also launched an additional survey aimed at the self-employed, freelancers and sole traders, in order to understand how COVID 19 is affecting these groups.
Growth Platform has also created an online COVID-19 hub for businesses looking for advice and will be issuing regular bulletins to keep businesses up to date with the latest support and guidance.
Further information can be found at: www.growthplatform.org/business-covid-19-advice/
These provisions follow the Metro Mayor’s announcement last Friday, where he announced an initial raft of measures in response to Coronavirus, including ‘LCR Cares COVID-19 Community Support Fund’, a crowdfunded campaign to support community and voluntary groups, as well as initiatives to relieve employers and employees affected by the outbreak. These measures include:
- Free bus travel on our supported services for children of keyworkers
- Lifting of restrictions on concessionary travel
- £65,000 community business support fund
More information about these measures can be viewed here.
How can businesses get support?
Please check the Growth Platform website for updates as information is shared both by central government and locally: https://growthplatform.org/business-covid-19-advice/
Register for the Growth Platform bulletin for regular updates: growthplatform.org
Email the team to request support firstname.lastname@example.org