This morning, the Office for National Statistics published the latest snapshot of the economy - UK GDP for July. It showed the UK economy grew by just 0.1% during July, well below the consensus. We asked small business owners on the front line how the economy feels to them.
16 responses from the Newspage community
"With murmurs of a lockdown in October, fallout from Brexit, the furlough scheme about to wind down, a cut to universal credit affecting the poorest and, this week, a tax on jobs hitting the lowest paid and youngest workers, the omens for the Autumn aren't exactly great. There's arguably a lot of pain in the pipeline and this week's tax hikes are likely only the beginning of what's to come. Batten down the hatches is my advice."
"Business seems to be steadily busy, as it has been in our sector for the past year. Our real issue is that everything is so slow when it comes to getting people moved into their homes. If I had a penny for every message blaming the pandemic for how long I've been on hold, I'd be mortgage-free. Many businesses have been able to adapt following the pandemic and now we just want to get on with it."
"As a holiday lettings business, we're nervous about the Autumn: our seasonally affected income starts to cool off much like the weather, and there are whispers of a half-term lockdown. That fills me with utter dread because of the potential for yet more lost revenue and the administrative nightmare that creates."
"The pingdemic wreaked havoc on the economy based on this evidence. And many businesses will have felt this first hand. Looking forward, the threat of another lockdown is the main fear for small business owners, so from that perspective I hope the economy will somehow struggle through. At My VIP Rewards, we've seen a huge rise in sales in the past two weeks, with more employers looking for ways to reward their staff. And with all of the places we offer discounts for being open again I am really confident that we will go from strength to strength, unless there is another lockdown, which would be another massive blow for the entire small business community."
"The economy is a mixed bag. On the one hand, we're seeing an increase in startups by people who were made redundant during the pandemic, on the other, businesses looking to let staff go due to the end of furlough, a decrease in sales activity and a lack of forecast cashflow. With an uncertain winter ahead and rumours of firebreak lockdowns, it's clear that small businesses need more support and the recent announcement of National Insurance increases will do little to comfort either new startups or firms that need to cut costs. Whether as a result of an increase in employer National Insurance or dividend tax, the end of the furlough scheme or having to start to repay Covid support loans, for many small business owners it's increasingly feeling like a no-win situation."
"My small business began in lockdown so as we emerge into what might be real life it's very hard to know what normal will look like, as normal for my business is lockdown. So I'm nervous, and concerned about what might happen and whether my business will survive. Of course, Christmas offers some promise, though insecurity is perhaps the homeland of the entrepreneur."
"It feels like there has been a huge boost in the economy over the past few months, with many businesses positively booming. The question, as ever, is how long will it last? One massive stick in the spokes is the disconnect between businesses wanting to hire and the abject shortage of talent. Unless this gets sorted quickly my concern is that the economy may see a temporary but potentially serious dip."
"With more new businesses launching and existing ones improving their online presence due to the pandemic, things are really hotting up in terms of website design and I am busier than I have ever been. Many of my new clients are changing the way they work and not returning to pre-Covid careers. My biggest concern as we enter autumn is overwork and I have just hired my first employee to help with the workload. I'm definitely more confident than I was at the beginning of summer and I only see this trend increasing."
"My concerns as we head into the Autumn are whether we are heading for another lockdown, which would be catastrophic for the hospitality and events industry. We've already seen mass job losses and venues closing their doors indefinitely. As a business we are fortunate we can support our clients with a whole manner of enquiries, but what about the businesses who cannot support virtual or hybrid solutions? Bars, restaurants, hotels, conference and exhibition venues and all the third parties associated with them. I think whatever happens in the Autumn, if the Government shut us down again, there must be some support for those who cannot trade."
"Year on year, my own trading figures are up, which I feel is a sign of growing confidence in online platforms as a result of people being forced to shop that way over the past 18 months. But who knows if this trend will continue as we navigate our way through the uncertain landscape ahead. Your guess as to the direction of the economy is as good as mine."
"We had the inevitable fall in sales over the summer holidays as everyone was off enjoying the not-so-sunny British weather. We’ve since started to see a pick-up in sales and enquiries and we hope and pray for a booming autumn as businesses look to pre-order Christmas gifts for colleagues and customers. As decision makers head back into the office, we hope they are looking for new ways to keep their employees productivity and motivation up and put smiles on faces, whether they’re working from home or in the office."
“We at FindYourFlex.co.uk are a Micro-Business who is very much reliant upon B2B sales for our survival. The war for talent and businesses lack of transparency when it comes to telling candidates who they are, has opened up a new consultancy arm to our job platform. We now enable businesses to adapt and recruit as we (the working world) collide with the ‘Future of Work’. So all in all, we are feeling positive about supporting the change that is required for businesses here in the UK, but urge government to continue to support business growth and funding opportunities, as we come to the end of furlough and to enable business impacted by the ‘No Jab No Job’ policies, to recover.”
"Business is steady at the moment, which is always good news for a freelancer whose business can go up and down throughout the year. I definitely have some concerns as we head into the autumn, as to whether or not things will get worse again like last year. None of us could cope with another lockdown, it would be catastrophic for small businesses."
"As a small business owner in the wedding and events industry, we've had to get our wheels in motion quickly going from 'nothing to manic'. As we head out of Summer with a fully booked weekend calendar until the end of the year, we remain confident in our resilience."
"We're lucky to be in a sector that has fared relatively well during the pandemic. Consumer mortgage activity remains good across all areas of purchase, home-moving and refinancing. Remortgage activity is continuing strongly with many electing to release additional equity from their homes, primarily for home improvements as well as rate switching. There is a significant rise in sub-1% mortgage products across the market and these remarkably low rate opportunities appeal to many borrowers."
"Business is picking up very slowly and my main concern is that it will take a long time for people to feel confident to return to things like live music and singing in choirs, irrespective of the measures business owners are taking to protect customers."