Local businesses across Falkirk have been significantly affected by the COVID-19 outbreak according to a recent survey conducted by Falkirk Council.
Carried out during July 2020, nearly 450 businesses of all sizes and sectors responded to a variety of questions saying how their businesses were coping during COVID-19 along with 36 business leaders taking part in five focus groups.
Top findings of the survey included:
- Nearly 19,000 employees (approx. 30% of the local workforce) have been furloughed with accommodation and food showing the highest rate at 73% matched with arts and entertainments also at 73%
- Unemployment is up especially among young people rising from 655 (5.35%) in March 2020 to 1250 (10.1%) in June 2020
- More than 2000 businesses have received Scottish and UK government support totalling £24.15m
- 44.7% of businesses said they would reopen with reduced hours and 36.9% said they would retain normal opening hours
- 29.4% said availability of finance was the key issue in recovery
- Developers have indicated that have seen an increase in sales and new development projects in Falkirk and Grangemouth
- A number of key construction sites are now coming back online
Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “It is clear that businesses across the Falkirk area have suffered as a result of COVID-19. The survey shows clearly where the main concerns lie and what help they are looking for from local and central government.
“The survey will inform a local economic recovery plan designed and developed with local business leaders and other partners that will outline the ways in which we can all help to get businesses back on their feet”.
The survey is a snapshot and was taken prior to easing of lockdown and shows that businesses that rely on customers being present are the most adversely affected including retail, hospitality and leisure. As businesses come out of lockdown, there has been an initial surge in areas such as construction and beauty with reports of working long hours and 7 days a week.
The Falkirk Recovery Plan will include local actions to improve key business, place and strategic infrastructure and these will include a range of projects some of which it is hoped can be funded through the recent award of £90 million of funding for the area’s Investment Zone initiative and will build on planned investment of £67 million of Tif funding over a 10 to 15 year period.
Councillor Meiklejohn added: “Our area has amazing assets that contribute significantly to the national economy including a healthy industrial manufacturing sector, a great location for investing in and a resilient business community. In addition a significant number of renewal and investment projects are in prospect in the area.
“Sadly, there will be businesses that will not re-open as a result of the pandemic and we hope their owners and employees can find other ventures to become involved with.”
If you are looking for new business or employment opportunities for yourself or your staff, or need advice on your current business, our Business Gateway Service and Employment and Training Unit are available to help
The findings of the survey will be used along with material to produce an impact report that will help shape the Council’s economic recovery plan to be published in September 2020.