The Q2 Survey

The Quarterly Economic Survey is a key indicator of UK GDP growth. In Q2 2020, the 51st Cornwall Chamber of Commerce survey revealed a large number of Cornish businesses are operating below capacity.

The latest survey from 167 participants showed that lockdown has, as expected, put major pressures on businesses in Cornwall. Without the summer season in full force and foreign tourism off the cards, for the time being, cash flow has gotten progressively worse.

With many Cornish businesses looking to make significant changes to their working practices for Q3, there are plenty of businesses currently struggling with recruitment. There has been an increase in recruitment since Q1, but it has been reported that a large number of those doing so have found difficulties in securing suitable staff for their business.

The Key Stats

Find out the key information taken from the Q2 survey below, highlighting the true impact of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown on Cornish businesses.

  • 14% are operating at full capacity, while 78% operate below capacity.
  • Only 12% report an increase in UK Sales,
  • Over the last 3 months, cash flow has decreased for nearly two thirds (65%) of businesses. It has remained constant for 14% of businesses, while there has been an increase for another 18%.
  • 10% say they have increased their workforce while 26% have decreased. 53% saw no change.
  • 14% expect to increase workforce over the next quarter, but 26% predict a decrease. 49% expect to see no change in their workforce.
  • Only 18% are attempting to recruit. Of those, 53% have struggled to recruit the right people.
  • 78% of businesses have stated that they expect to change their working practices following the pandemic. 43% suggest that they will be implementing remote or flexible working.

Market Pressures

62% are experiencing pressures to raise their prices due to the following:

  • Overheads (31%)
  • Cost of raw materials (17%)
  • Pay settlements (11%)
  • Finance costs (11%)

80% reported external pressures due to the following:

  • Taxation (35%)
  • Competition (24%)
  • Inflation (24%)
  • Business rates (20%)
  • Exchange rates (13%)
  • Interest rates (13%)

The full results

The full survey results are available to view on the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce website.

See results

The Reaction

In response to the results of the survey, CEO of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce Kim Conchie said:

“Inevitably, Q2 2020 is a survey of unprecedented times showing a real disconnect with previous Quarters and in many ways reflective of the 20.4% drop in UK GDP for April.

For Cornwall & Scilly, some results are not as bad as I’d feared – 18% of businesses are still recruiting for example. But the overall picture shows issues which need addressing immediately to avoid mass redundancies and business closures.

78% of businesses are operating below capacity and 54% reporting that sales are down – these stats could quickly feed through to job losses unless steps are taken to reboot the economy.“

Back in Business for Q3

Q3 does show much promise for our vibrant county. While Q2 has shown the inevitable results of the lockdown, Cornwall will be ready to open its arms again to both it’s residents and visitors.

With the latest announcement from Government, 4 July will bring welcome changes to many Cornish businesses allowing them to greet customers, serve up some of the delicious food Cornwall is renowned for and see many return to the sea with surf instructors and rental services back in action.

Cornwall may not get the full drive of tourism this summer, but with businesses opening up again there is more than just hope of a safe return to normal. With the chance for people to enjoy what the county has got to offer comes the opportunity to bring a boost to its businesses and economy.

What will be open?

Bakeries. And lots of them. Expect no trouble finding a pasty from 4 July, as many businesses of the food and drink sector open their doors, some for the first time since March.

Pubs and restaurants will likely be taking contact details from their customers on entry, so remember to act responsibly around others by socially distancing, and to drink responsibly too… it’s been a while!

Holiday accommodation will be open – so remember to book in advance, Cornwall is the perfect destination to take a break and socially distance, but only if you plan ahead.

With hairdressers and barbers to open, you can guarantee long lines out the door. Again, plan ahead; it’s time to fix ourselves up as we all get back on our feet.

The cinema may not be the first place we want to return to if the weather continues to call for beer gardens and barbeques, but that is just as well. Take the opportunity to do just something different, or see that film you have been waiting all this time to see. This may present a quieter, safer time to go.

Have you been affected by lockdown?

If your business has suffered because of restrictions during the lockdown, and you would like guidance on how to get back on track, Whyfield is here to help. Being based in Cornwall ourselves, we are aware of the situation, and with our expert team still fully operational (albeit from a safe distance) we welcome all enquiries and look forward to helping you and your business.

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