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Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership survey shows impact of Covid-19 on local firms

Results from more than 400 organisations

Jacinta George
Jacinta George

THE Berkshire business community is again facing one of its most challenging times.

The impact of Covid-19 has not only created uncertainty for business owners and their workforces, but it has seen them having to react on a daily basis to new guidance, priorities and challenges.

In June, Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) conducted a county-wide Covid-19 business recovery insights survey to understand the current and future impacts that the pandemic was having on businesses at that time.

More than 400 organisations participated and the LEP has identified the following key highlights:

  • Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of enterprises continued to trade throughout the pandemic.
  • Twenty-three per cent of enterprises had not been financially impacted by the pandemic.
  • A third (33 per cent) anticipated that 51 to 100 per cent of their workforce would work from home in the future, compared to 21 per cent pre-Covid.
  • Forty-three per cent of enterprises used entry level talent. Of these just 28 per cent were hiring as planned or were delaying starts for their 2020 cohort.
  • Forty-four per cent of enterprises offer work experience. Of these just 15 per cent were certain that they would continue to offer it on-site or virtually in 2020 and 50 per cent were certain that they wouldn’t be offering it in 2020 or early 2021.
  • Three in 10 said that restrictions on air travel/transportation were impacting customer volumes, while almost a quarter reported that it was delaying their full return to work.
  • Thirty-two per cent of enterprises believed that the UK’s exit from the EU would heighten their current challenges, while 15 per cent felt that Brexit would aid their recovery.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP business environment lead and board director Jacinta George said: “The findings of the survey are continuously being used to discuss steps that can be taken by a range of organisations, including government, to help business in the recovery phase of the current crisis.

“The results also played a critical role in informing a series of recovery and renewal round tables hosted by the LEP in September, with outputs currently feeding into a Recovery and Renewal Plan for Berkshire which will be published in the new year.”

The LEP’s Berkshire Business Growth Hub plays an important role in providing a first stop shop for advice and support to SME businesses, including scale-up businesses, through a range of programmes, particularly at this time.
For more details visit www.berkshirebusinesshub.co.uk

The Business Growth Hub and LEP also issue weekly e-bulletins collating all of the Covid-19 information disseminated by government to help businesses to navigate all of the support on offer.

Businesses can sign up to receive these free by subscribing on either organisation’s website.

Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has also launched an online opportunities portal – Berkshire Opportunities – that supports job seekers in their immediate career, training and education goals.

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