Many firms reopen for business in Suffolk but 32 per cent expecting job losses

The sixteenth Suffolk Chamber of Commerce survey into how its members are responding to the spread of the Covid-19 virus reaffirms the ongoing steady re-opening of much of the Suffolk business community.

Conducted earlier this week, the survey showed that 60% of firms have now fully re-opened with a further 23% saying that there is nothing stopping them from trading.

Only 4% of respondents said they were unable to re-open due to difficulties complying with Covid-19 guidelines.

Those companies that have re-opened are successfully employing a range of measures aimed to minimise the spread of Covid-19:

–          81% of firms have introduced social distancing in their work place;

–          53% of firms have adopted flexible working;

–          37% of firms are rotating staff to meet guidelines in their workplaces

Concerns about the impact of the lockdown on the health and wellbeing of owners and staff alike have remain largely unchanged over the last month.

In this latest survey, 25%% of business owners/ managers said they are feeling anxious and stressed at work, 58% of the businesses’ workforces are facing anxiety issues, 43% are stressed, 22% are facing sleeping problems and 14% of them are worried about debt.

In a reverse of the two previous Suffolk Chamber surveys, more respondents (42%) said there were not confident of the government’s approach to lockdown than those expressing confidence (35%).

Significantly, 32% of business are thinking of or will be making staff redundant and 24% of those businesses will be making up to five staff redundant.

Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of communications & campaigns, said: “Whilst these survey findings suggest a continuation of the steady re-opening of Suffolk businesses of recent weeks, the potential of significant job losses is an immediate cause of concern. The threat is especially acute in specific sectors and for younger workers more generally.

“Suffolk Chamber is pleased that the government has launched a number of schemes aimed at encouraging employers to take on 16-24 and will look forward to doing our part as the voice of business in the county to assist the restart of the economy and to minimise any short-term  job losses.”

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