79% operators can only survive closure until May with Government aid, survey reveals

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Help needed: 211 of the 267 survey respondents stated their companies would only be able to continue until May with more Government support
Help needed: 211 of the 267 survey respondents stated their companies would only be able to continue until May with more Government support

Related tags Finance Government Lumina Intelligence Legislation

Almost eight in 10 (79%) operators have warned their businesses will only survive a trade shutdown until May with support from Government schemes, research has discovered.

This followed the rumoured closure of pubs until May being slammed as “simply unviable”​ by UKHospitality (UKH) boss Kate Nicholls.

Currently, the existing coronavirus restrictions under the third lockdown rules are set to expire on 31 March 2021.

However, a number of national newspapers have reported that the hospitality trade could remain closed until the spring with a source telling The​​ Sunday Times​​: “The May Day bank holiday is more likely the moment you see pubs reopening.”

The Morning Advertiser ​​understands the Government is keeping the restrictions under constant review but expect the changes will last until at least mid-February.

Investment levels

Meanwhile, the Hospitality Leaders Poll, which is conducted by Lumina Intelligence on behalf of The Morning Advertiser​, MCA​, Big Hospitality ​and Restaurant​, also found 7% of operators won't survive an enforced closure until May, 9% were unsure and 5% said they would be able to trade without Government support schemes.

The poll also asked 267 operators on the viability of their business if takeaway collections were banned and they could only provide delivery services. The majority (84%) said delivery was not a viable option.

Respondents were also polled on any levels of investment they had put into their business during the third lockdown.

More than a third (35%) were not investing anything while a quarter (27%) said they were investing £1,000 to £10,000.

About a fifth (21%) were spending less than £1,000 and more than one in 10 (16%) were spending over £10,000 on their business.

On the subject of money, the poll also asked operators if their businesses need to borrow funds in order to stay open.

Future confidence

More than half (52%) had already borrowed money to remain trading, while 16% said they would not need to borrow cash, the same proportion (16%) said they would and 15% were unsure.

The survey has polled confidence levels among operators on a week-by-week basis. The latest figures found a minimal change since the previous week.

Some 13% of operators were ‘confident’ in the future of their business (the same percentage as last week), the proportion of those who are ‘quite confident’ rose marginally from 41% last week to 46% this week.

Operators who are ‘very confident’ fell slightly from 6% last week to 3% this week and those who are ‘not confident’ dropped a little from 39% to 38%.

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