Warning on redundancies as data shows Yorkshire's economy ground to a halt during lockdown
According to the latest survey from the region’s chambers of commerce, activity is at the lowest level since they began recording data more than three decades ago.
The latest results from West & North Yorkshire and Mid- Yorkshire Chambers, produced in collaboration with the Leeds City Region LEP highlight just how big an impact the Covid-19 crisis followed by lockdown has been. The service sector reported a significant decline in domestic sales, with leisure, hospitality and accommodation the most likely to report falling sales.
Manufacturing has continued across the region but at a much reduced level while businesses across the board are struggling with cash flow and lack of reserves.
Half of all firms involved in construction and manufacturing reported disruption to their supply chains
Social distancing remains a factor for all firms with 41 per cent expecting this to be part of their working patterns for at least the next six months with an additional 43 per cent expecting to keep this going for up to a year.
Businesses acknowledged the temporary security that government support schemes had provided and firms reported significant levels of remote working and furloughing of staff, the latter being a measure which in the short term has preserved jobs.
However there are concerns that as the furlough scheme starts to taper off and, without new sales, to rebuild cash reserves there is a concern over high levels of redundancies across the region.
Nick Garthwaite, chair of West & North Yorkshire Chamber, said: “The regional economy has experienced a sudden and shuddering halt the like of which we have not seen in peace time, with all sectors reporting falling sales, investment and business confidence.
“As we enter the recovery phase, no doubt we will lose good businesses who, through no fault of their own, have been unable to survive, this is cause for sadness.
“However, this crisis presents an opportunity to rethink how government works, it will present opportunities to rebuild and renew our regional economies and help create new opportunities for business and communities.
“As a Chamber we will continue to push government to deliver on its Levelling Up agenda, working with stakeholders to ensure that we fix decades of regional imbalances in government investment in order to boost productivity.”
Roger Marsh OBE, chair of Leeds City Region LEP, said: “As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, we are beginning to see some signs that business activity is resuming, but the road to economic recovery will be long and challenging.”