This morning at 07:00, the Office for National Statistics published the latest economic snapshot of the UK economy. Below are the ground-up views of 22 small businesses based around the UK.
22 responses from the Newspage community
"From the moment BoJo gave us the green light back in April, the floodgates opened and eager holiday makers hit the M5 and journeyed to Devon in their droves. "As a UK holiday lettings agent, the second quarter of the year and July has been terrifyingly busy from an operational perspective. Given the general lack of staff and being plagued by the pingdemic, an undercurrent of fear remains as we wing it to the end of the summer season. "Booking interest for the 12 months ahead is considerably higher than this time last year. Domestic holidays will be de rigueur whilst vaccination programmes are rolled out globally, but we are under no illusion that foreign travel will return with a vengeance, coupled with an oversupply of holiday lets."
"As a charity that relies on events to bring much needed income to support our families undergoing cancer, the past 18 months have been unbelievably stressful. A 90% decrease in income versus a 95% increase in demand for our help. If the pingdemic continues, we are extremely anxious about our future, and the people we help. We need the economy back and we need support from the Government in the right places and at the right time."
"The second quarter of the year was quite a bit better for me than the first, and massively better than the same time last year. I think businesses and organisations are starting to bring their people back together and beginning to invest in their development and futures again. "I've already got bookings in my diary for next year, which has never happened before. I'm a lot more confident about the future of my business than I have been for a long time."
"I'm very worried about the rest of 2021. People are cancelling booked appointments or just not turning up because of the "pingdemic", which is costing me a lot of money. One day last week a full day, 9am-8pm of clients, cancelled or did not show. My business can't go on like this without some financial support from somewhere. For me, the economic situation is still brutal."
"As an online retail business selling second-hand children’s clothes, the second quarter saw a definite dip for us. July 2021 was our quietest month for over a year, and June had also been quiet. From talking to others in the industry we weren’t alone. We had expected it, as people started spending on days out again rather than being at home shopping as they had in lockdown, but it was still a bit scary as we had invested heavily in expansion and new staff on the back of strong lockdown sales. Thankfully August seems to have rebounded brilliantly and sales are back to lockdown levels this month, and we’re pretty confident in the strength and demand for online retail going forward."
"We had a great second quarter and, although we expected a downturn in enquiries during July, this has not happened. We offer remote medical PA services to consultants in London and throughout the UK and, although the various lockdowns definitely had an impact on our company, this year's growth has been higher than in previous years. "We are feeling confident about the next 12 months. The need for virtual consultations has created a new way of working for doctors which has given the healthcare industry a much better understanding of how efficient remote working can be."
"Having quite a few clients in hospitality, my business picked up in the past couple of months as venues prepared to reopen, but we're definitely not taking it for granted. I'm worried about the possibility of further lockdowns, and also how the lack of staff — due to the 'pingdemic' and Brexit among other things — will continue to affect the hospitality industry from now on. We can't afford to lose another Christmas so this is definitely a concern."
"Business definitely got better for us during the second quarter and also July. As a start-up ourselves, we are seeing an influx of newly formed limited companies which are unaware of their responsibilities in relation to accounts and taxes. "I am confident in our business over the next 12 months, but worry about people who went limited and will miss statutory deadlines."
"Business has increased for us, partly I think due to the resilience afforded to us by being a tech company. So we're fairly confident for the year ahead. However, what does concern me is that COVID and Brexit-related supply chain issues may mean that it could take at least another year for tech companies as a whole to get back to pre-Covid inventory levels, perhaps longer."
"We had a great second quarter and a great July. We have been running as fast as we can to keep up with the pace of new projects we’ve taken on. However, it feels like we are working towards a false summit. "The economy isn’t stable and neither is the business ecosystem that underpins it. Consequently we feel that all this demand could disappear overnight, taking us full circle again. "We have our fingers crossed that we escape a miserable winter of further lockdowns and mass unemployment driven by the removal of the furlough scheme. The whole country seems to perpetually be hoping for the best. We are making hay while the sun shines, because what other strategy do we have left?
With all the talk of the market slowing down as we approached freedom day, many in the industry have found out that the only thing that seems to be slowing is the speed lenders are turning out offers and what seems to be the mythical beasts that are solicitors, the most frustrating part of the process is the speed information is turning around, we have found the demand for mortgages has not slowed neither has the competition for properties. We are looking towards a bumper 2021 growing into 2022, we are battening down the hatches for the rush as we come into the end of the stamp duty holiday, but like the previous SDLT break we expect the market to remain the same moving into the end of the year
"The housing market in the second quarter was too hot to handle if anything, with properties flying out of agents' doors faster than they could list them. "At this time of year there's always a natural lull due to the summer holidays and people going away for a break but it's still hyper competitive due to an acute lack of housing stock and 13 buyers for each property that comes to market, so if you're thinking of buying or moving you must get prepared well in advance so you can strike when the time is right. "In the coming 12 months, the main concerns are the cloud of Brexit and COVID that are bound to hang over us for some time combined with possible job losses as the furlough scheme is unwound. However the real dilemma for the housing market is the structural issue of nowhere near enough homes being built to cope with current and future demand."
"The second quarter, just like the first, was very busy for me as a mortgage broker. The combination of lifestyle changes brought about by homeworking and the Stamp Duty (SDLT) holiday meant demand for mortgages has been higher than ever, as people look to move home, or do large scale home improvements. "However, as the stamp duty holiday comes to an end, furlough ends and employers start to ask workers to go back into offices, these market drivers will all come to a halt. "What this means for the second half of the year is unknown and very hard for me to predict. My main concern is that the surge in demand seen in the first half of the year will leave the second half a desolate wasteland in comparison."
"The second quarter of the year has pretty much been business as usual with lockdown restrictions easing, I am as excited as a kid in a sweetshop for the next 12 months, as long as we don't end up in another lockdown and as long as the economy starts to recover and there is no sharp rise in unemployment."
We've just celebrated our best month ever in 12 years! The pandemic has made employers realise something that we've known all along - that people are their most important asset. The last 18 months has given us great confidence that employers need partners like Talk Staff to provide 360 degree full-service people advice as they get business back on track or support their ambitions to grow. We recently received a large amount of funding to support working capital during our own growth and are now looking to acquire companies in the hr support and payroll services sector due to the success we've had and an extremely positive outlook for the future.
"The pandemic has affected every industry in a different way and fortunately for us the property market has thrived, with some of the highest activity we have ever seen. Whilst we hope this will continue, it is likely we will see a reduction in activity, now that the stamp duty relief has reduced and the furlough scheme is coming to an end. "Looking forward, I think our industry will remain resilient as it has done so many times before but the same sadly can't be said for those in the sectors worst impacted by Covid."
"Our business increased in the second quarter by 49% compared to the first quarter of 2021. The first quarter was also a marked improvement from the last quarter of 2020. We are delighted to see many SMEs gain their confidence to recruit again this year, having previously put 2020 plans on hold. As positive as this growth is, there are alarm bells and difficulties. For example, skilled, willing and motivated workers are in very high demand in certain sectors but in extremely short supply." "I do not believe this will improve much after the furlough scheme is abolished either. As a result we will continue to help our clients understand how to keep the existing staff they want and ensure they are ahead of their competitors to get the talent they require for their business."
"Considering our business is reliant on predominantly live, in-person events, we have had an extremely positive July and things have definitely been picking up. "That said, we still had to move a lot of events into September and we are still seeing large confirmed events doing an about turn and postponing to 2022. "I think we are not fully out of the woods though, we are working with our clients to support with delivering a range of event options both virtual, hybrid and bespoke in-person events. "With the economy where it's at, it's important to have alternative options, let's face it. Fortunately, we are now used to working with plans A, B, C and D."
Our business benefited from the SLDT holiday and saw strong demand in the second quarter. The next 12 months will be helping those with mortgage problems, Foreign HNW pent up demand and refinancing existing and struggling borrowers. With government stimulus and incentives slowly grinding to a halt, such as furlough schemes, bounce back loans needing to be repaid, and SDLT holidays ending, all will depend on the resilience of British business and pent up consumer demand. A close eye will need to be kept on inflation, although we predict BOE will hold interest rate increases for now.
"Business just hasn't slowed down at all. I'm now in a position where I will need to take on team members in the next six months to keep up with the workload. It's incredibly reassuring to see businesses still willing to invest in their growth."
We have seen a dramatic uptick in business and enquiries from both the UK and Internationally. Our web site traffic and alert_responses to our weekly mail has increased and our award winning magazine "something's brewing" has increased its readership by 4 fold in the last 6 months. Our international training centres operating Barista Skills courses continue to be well attended especially in southern europe.
"Our Q2 has been quieter for our UK market. The feedback received is that there has been uncertainty about when and if teams will return to work and priorities have been around managing this transition. Towards the end of the second quarter, there was definitely more interest and enquiries, and we are looking forward to a busy third and fourth quarter. However, our overseas training in the Middle East and South East Asia has continued at the same rate. There is still uncertainty for the next 12 months and as a result we are creating services to appeal to hybrid workforces and flexible learning options so we will be in a position to deliver a wider variety of learning."