Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, has published the results of his St Austell and Newquay Business Survey.
The survey, conducted over June and July 2021 saw more than 2,500 businesses in the St Austell and Newquay constituency asked about their experiences of the Government’s support during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as changes to their working practices that have arisen as a result of it and their level of confidence for recovery.
Commenting, Steve said:
“I appreciate this continues to be a very challenging time for local businesses and I conducted this survey as an opportunity to understand the lessons businesses have learnt from the pandemic, and therefore be better equipped to effectively represent them as we move into the recovery phase.”
“All the responses received were very helpful, and will provide valuable feedback to the Government, in turn informing our policy as we look to support business in the future.”
“I will be sharing this report with Government Ministers and members of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet, as well as the Cornwall LEP and Chamber of Commerce.”
“I have also published the report on my website for anyone who wants to read it in full, via the below link”:
Summary of Survey responses:
In terms of Government support, Furlough was by far the most popular scheme, with just under 70% of respondents taking part, making sure they could keep on as many staff as possible.
The support from Government in general was also received very positively, with the vast majority of respondents giving it a rating of 7/10 or more, and with over one third rating it 10/10 (“extremely positive”). A small number had a less positive experience, citing administration challenges and communication difficulties with local authorities. This is all valuable feedback.
Unsurprisingly, most businesses have had to adapt in some way over the past year. More than 20% of respondents indeed adapted “significantly” in response to the challenges posed by Covid.
Perhaps more interesting, however, is the data on businesses’ plans beyond the pandemic. Of those who had adapted their business model, over half plan to either sustain the changes they have made or adapt further. Only 10% who have adapted plan to return to the way they operated before the pandemic, which means that potentially up to 90% of businesses who have made changes will not operate in the same way as they did before.
In terms of optimism for the future, most businesses foresee a relatively quick recovery time. The most common time estimate to return to pre-pandemic trading levels was 1-2 years, with only 1% of responders estimating it would take their business more than 5 years to recover.
A number of issues were also highlighted relating to ongoing challenges that businesses are facing now and are likely to face in the future. In particular, a great deal was said about the current staff shortages, and also about the level of VAT and business rates over the coming months.