Medium-sized businesses believe the regional economic gap has widened

2nd November 2020, 4:48 pm

  • 47% of mid-sized businesses in the North West feel that COVID-19 will further widen the UK’s north / south economic gap but 17% feel there isn’t a north / south divide at all
  • More than half (53%) of business leaders in the region say they will need additional financial support to survive a second wave of COVID-19 this winter
  • Making loan payments was highlighted as the biggest business and operational concern for North West business leaders.

COVID-19 will worsen the UK’s north/south economic divide according to a study of 500 medium-sized business leaders, published today by accountancy and business advisory firm BDO.

When asked about their top three short-term operational challenges in this month’s BDO Rethinking the Economy survey, North West businesses listed making loan payments (47%), balancing cashflow (40%) and managing international supply chains (40%). Nationally the biggest concern mirrors the North West’s response of paying back business loans with a quarter of UK company leaders agreeing.

Looking ahead to 2021, 30% of North West businesses claim ongoing COVID-19 restrictions are the biggest threat to their company. More than half of businesses feel they will need additional funding this winter, but 47% of businesses expect they will survive a second wave of COVID-19 without additional financial support.

Commenting on the results in the North West, Ed Dwan at BDO said: “As the UK enters a lockdown, business leaders are understandably concerned about the immediate and longer-term pressures placed on their company. The extension of Government support to address these challenges will be welcomed by business owners and we’d urge ongoing measures to support the region’s mid-sized businesses. This will secure their future and avoid any increasing economic divide.

“Businesses continue to adapt and are taking decisive action with plans over the next six months to restructure existing roles, hire graduates or apprentices and create temporary roles. What’s abundantly clear is no two businesses are the same. Even wider trends are contradictory as business leaders re-think their approach – one in three businesses will reduce office space but a third are seeking to increase office or premises in the next six months. We will undoubtedly continue to see new levels of resilience and innovation from the region’s entrepreneurs.”

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