January shopping levels just one third of what they were last year

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January shopping levels just one third of what they were last year

Heading back to square one: January shopping levels are just one third of what they were last year, furlough numbers are INCREASING an

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Heading back to square one: January shopping levels are just one third of what they were last year, furlough numbers are INCREASING and 15 per cent of businesses fear they won’t survive the next three months

  • New Office for National Statistics data paints a grim picture for UK businesses 
  • Retail footfall in week ending January 10 was 35 per cent of level seen last year
  • Data shows furlough numbers are increasing, up from 11 per cent to 14 per cent
  • Some 15 per cent of UK firms have no or low confidence of surviving past March 

Shopping levels are at just one third of where they were last year, furlough numbers are increasing and more than one in 10 UK firms fear they will not survive past March, according to new data. 

The Office for National Statistics today published the results of its latest Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey and it paints a grim picture for the British economy.

The figures show in the week ending January 10 – days after Boris Johnson announced another lockdown – the number of people out shopping fell by two per cent to 35 per cent of the level recorded in the same week in 2020. 

That is the lowest level recorded in the UK since the week ending June 14 last year. 

Meanwhile, the proportion of UK workers on furlough increased before the latest national shutdown was announced. 

The latest data published by the Office for National Statistics represents a fresh headache for Chancellor Rishi Sunak as he tries to keep UK plc afloat

The latest data published by the Office for National Statistics represents a fresh headache for Chancellor Rishi Sunak as he tries to keep UK plc afloat

Numbers for the period between December 14 and December 27 showed 14 per cent of the workforce was on furlough, compared to 11 per cent between November 30 and December 13. 

The Government has extended the furlough scheme, which sees it pay 80 per cent towards wages, to the end of April this year.    

Some 71 per cent of UK businesses said they were open and trading, down from 84 per cent in the preceding period.  

The ONS surveyed a sample of approximately 39,000 UK businesses, with some 23 per cent responding.          

Some 15 per cent of firms said they have no or low confidence of surviving the next three months. 

That number was 35 per cent for businesses which are temporarily closed or which have paused trading.     

Approximately 44 per cent of all UK businesses said they have less than six months of cash reserves.  

The return to lockdown at the start of January immediately prompted an increase in the proportion of workers working from home after the Government strengthened its stay at home message. 

In the week ending January 10, the number of people working exclusively from home over the past seven days had increased by eight per cent to 34 per cent overall.  

Some 15 per cent of all UK businesses told the ONS they have no or low confidence of surviving the next three months. The Old High Street in Folkestone is pictured on January 13

Some 15 per cent of all UK businesses told the ONS they have no or low confidence of surviving the next three months. The Old High Street in Folkestone is pictured on January 13 

Meanwhile, the volume of UK online job adverts was found in the week ending January 8 to have dropped by five per cent from the previous week to 72 per cent of the level seen in the same week last year. 

An analysis of job adverts provided by Adzuna, a job search engine, showed adverts had decreased across all UK countries and English regions over the period.    

London was the worst hit, with the volume of job adverts in the capital at just 62 per cent of what was seen in the same week last year.               

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