44% of UK firms plan to furlough at least half employees due to COVID-19, according to poll

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2nd April 2020 15:06 - Business Support

44% of UK firms plan to furlough at least half employees due to COVID-19: As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, a survey by the British Chambers of Commerce has revealed that 44% of businesses are planning to use the government's Coronavirus Job Retention scheme in the next week, which offers to pay 80% of an employees salary, up to £2,500 per month.

The survey polled over 600 businesses (the majority reporting fewer than 250 employees), and found that some firms plan to furlough greater numbers of staff in the next week, with around a third (32%) saying they plan to use the scheme for 75% to 100% of their workforce.

Just over a quarter (26%) said they would not be using the scheme in the coming week.

The research also found that 20% of businesses have already closed temporarily, although no survey participants were found to have closed their doors on a permanent basis. 

Cash in reserve

The survey also revealed that 6 in 10 UK (62%) businesses have just three months or less of funds available in reserve, with 44% reporting one to three months, and 18% with less than a month's worth of cash available in reserve.

Around one in twenty (6%) said they have cash in reserve to sustain them for more than 12 months.

The survey was conducted between 25 - 27 March.

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