The UK economy and you

ended 09. December 2021

Tomorrow morning at sparrow's fart (07:00) the Office for National Statistics is publishing the latest GDP data, giving the most up-to-date snapshot of the UK economy. While the macroeconomists will spout their usual guff from their ivory towers, we're keen to know how things are feeling for you, on the ground — all the more so after last night's announcement about Plan B. No need for an essay, just a few lines will do. We'll issue your views to local and national media tomorrow AM.


13 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"Right now, for me, it’s bad, really bad. We're over 30% down on sales compared to last year and have had a 30-50% rise in manufacturing costs, which is making this quarter extremely hard to weather. People just aren’t buying and I’m suddenly living hand to mouth with cash flow, worrying when the next bill is going to hit my account and if I’ll have enough to cover it. I don’t care what the big picture is, the small picture down in the trenches is bleak."
Star Quote
"If October was worse than expected, the business outlook for December and into the New Year is extremely worrying. The latest announcement of restrictions is a hammer blow to SMEs, especially those in hospitality, events and retail. I am seeing a lot of very worried business owners who, having only just started to recover from the last lockdown, are now having to face renewed challenges, and this time around with zero Government support."
Star Quote
"The overriding feedback I'm getting from our members is that purses are tight and belts are even tighter. It certainly doesn't feel like a fortnight from Christmas. If October's snapshot of the economy underwhelmed, expect worse to come next month and the month after. If it's anything, GDP should be used as a measure for how out of touch policymakers are with real life. Even when GDP is strong, the person in the street rarely feels the effect of it but seems to get continually poorer. If there are any positives, it's the phenomenal resilience of independents in every corner of the UK."
Star Quote
"The resilience of business owners over the past 18 months has been phenomenal, but this underwhelming GDP data shows the impact of the pandemic on the economy, and that's before the Omicron variant. The new restrictions announced this week will be another formidable obstacle for businesses to overcome. As a company that works closely with many of the most affected, we know the detrimental impact these restrictions will have not just on businesses’ survival, but the broader economy. While no financial aid from the Government has been presented as yet, support from other funders will be essential in order to help support businesses through yet another challenging and critical period."
Star Quote
"Our business operates across retail and hospitality and we have seen a steady decline in bookings and sales since the emergence of the Omicron variant and the reintroduction of some Covid restrictions. Any uncertainty around new variants is terrible for the retail and hospitality market, as people understandably get nervous. Government announcements are usually followed by a stream of cancellations, while the lack of forward bookings makes it difficult to plan. It is extremely disheartening to be in this position for a second Christmas."
After last night's press conference introducing plan B.. Not only are the hospitality industry experiencing businesses cancelling parties, but it has already started the knock on effect on the Hair & Beauty industry with reports on Facebook groups this morning of mass cancellations for pre Christmas & office party make overs. Many of us, if not the majority including myself in this industry are self employed and this is absolutely devastating for us, for the second year running. With the most of us receiving no financial assistance during Lockdowns, means we are in extremely uncomfortable times.. I see many salons struggling and being forced to close.. Not every business is on the high streets. At least we all have an open invitation to No 10 for cheese and wine...
"My feelings about the economy are roughly the same as those a turkey has for Christmas. Anyone can make statistics look good but the reality on the ground is people are struggling and the cost of living is becoming unbearable for many on the lowest incomes with insecure work. 2022 could be a tough year and one when the full impact of the pandemic starts to hit home."
Whilst we still expect the traditionally strong property market in the first quarter of 2022, the uncertainty around Omicron, potentially higher interest rates and runaway inflation, may act as a brake on mortgage demand. Right now, property prices are underpinned by incredibly low interest rates, but house price falls in this environment are not out of the question by any means.
"We are fortunate to be in a sector that can offer solutions to the challenges faced by our customers during the pandemic, which has actually seen us grow our business. Furthermore, our exposure to business sectors that have been hardest hit by the pandemic has been minimal. Those that have seen growth, such as companies within the packaging and wholesale sectors, has seen them invest in digital transformation projects, such as cloud based Enterprise Resource Planning. This has helped customers to scale their enterprises rapidly to cope with the significant shifts within the economy."
2021 provided lots of buoyancy in our sector, the property market, mainly due to shifting attitudes towards work/life balance, flexible working , and the stamp duty holiday. But many other smaller business were not so lucky, particularly in the hospitality and retail sectors, where the pandemic hit hard. Whilst lots of bigger corporates were able to maximise the opportunity and increase their profits. We often assist small business owners with finance, so being privy to the financial information see on a daily basis the impact lockdown has had for many. The outlook for 2022 now firmly rests in the hands of the 'we like to party' party. A backwards step into another lockdown could have catastrophic effects for small business owners.
"Although more Covid restrictions will come as a huge blow to SMEs up and down the country, we must do what we have to in order to stay safe. Despite challenging political messages at present, we must stick together and fight this dreadful virus with resilience and a creative approach to keeping small businesses afloat. The Ink Bin will be following all social distancing rules to ensure the safety of our Team."
No. 10 is losing all credibility. One rule for us and no rules for them. The latest measures are a disaster to the fragile Hospitality sector and their supply chain. There is no consistency to the Government strategy and very little thought to the practical implications of their decisions.
In real life it is hard OK borrowing money and deferring taxes to get through Covid. This has left too many good companies in a position they can not pay back the loans and catch up with their tax liabilities. Casualties amongst small family businesses will soar over the next few months. Employees were OK they were furloughed could not spend their wages and ended up financially better off. Business owners though still had overheads to pay with no income.