The BPIF has published the results of its Coronavirus Support Schemes Survey, a follow-up to its Business Impact Survey conducted in March. It shows 12% of responding print companies have ceased operations entirely, with a further 73% having furloughed some employees.
BPIF CEO Charles Jarrold, said: “Our latest survey confirms the acute importance to the sector of the support schemes when so much of the economy is temporarily unable to operate. 73% are relying upon the Job Retention Scheme, although there’s clear feedback on the need for greater flexibility within the scheme. The CBILs scheme had significant teething problems but is now becoming more effective, although we have significant reservations about debt being offered as support, rather than grants and other direct relief. Finally, with the vast majority of companies not expecting demand to recover any time soon, support schemes must stay in place to avoid large scale company failures and job losses while the economy recovers. Ours is a resilient and innovative sector, but it will need time to recover.”
The survey showed that the HMRC portal for the Job Retention Scheme (JRS) has been a success for the majority of responses - almost three-quarters (73%) of companies have been able to access the portal and complete their application.
Over 600 redundancies are anticipated once JRS ends, this equates to about 4% of all employees from responding companies; a considerably lower proportion than the 35% of employees that are on furlough (or going on to furlough) and might otherwise have been made redundant already if it wasn’t for the JRS.
74% of respondents would like Government to extend furlough capability as they take time to recover and ramp-up capacity. 55% of companies would like to have the ability to roll staff in and out of furlough more frequently.
A third (33%) of responding companies have applied for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes (CBILS). 26% of those companies that had applied had been successful in their application at the time of responding to the survey. 21% had not been successful and 53% were waiting to find out.
In terms of other Government support, 62% have not applied for any grant, while 19% have applied for and received some grant support.
46% of respondents were using the deferral of VAT payments, with a further 23% intending to use. 26% of respondents were using business rates relief and a further 16% intend to use. Only 3% of responding companies had received access to a hardship relief fund.
45% of companies have cancelled non-critical services, a further 20% intending to do so. 35% of companies were taking a finance/lease holiday, with another 10% intending to. 31% have arranged a rent/mortgage holiday, with a further 12% intending to do so.
The two changes most likely to become more permanent, as identified by survey respondents, are social distancing in the workplace and more clients’ employees working from home - both were selected by 64% of responding companies. A faster digital transformation for meetings, events and training were selected by 45%.
The vast majority of companies do not expecting demand levels to recover anytime soon. The ‘more than 12 months’ time’ category attracted the largest share of respondents - 27%.