Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) Dashboard Update

Continuing our COVID-19 series, this article provides an updated view of the economy based on:

  • The results of the latest Wave 6 of the Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) (covering the period 18th May to 31st May) compared with those reported in our previous article considering the results from Wave 3 of the BICS (20th April – 3rd May); and
  • Figures from the Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on take up of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) (covering the period to the 14th June) against the closest available one-month period, where possible.

With recent news headlines dominated by stories of economic challenge, it is encouraging to see some areas of progress in the results, as lockdown measures started to be eased. For example, compared to the results from Wave 3 of the BICS, the proportion of businesses continuing to trade has risen by 4.8 percentage points to 84.1%, with the largest increases being in Northern Ireland (+8.9 percentage points) and England (+5.6 percentage points).  The results by sector show that those sectors most affected by lockdown measures have reported the greatest increases, including an increase of 12.5 percentage points of businesses in the accommodation and food services sector saying they are continuing to trade between the two survey periods and a 10.3 percentage point increase in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector.  

Figures from HMRC show that the number of employees benefiting from the CJRS has increased by 1.6 million since the 11th May, totalling 9.1 million workers who have claimed £20.8 billion. Likewise, the number of self-employed workers claiming SEISS has increased by 2.2 million since the 13th May, totalling 2.6 million at a cost of £7.6 billion. Whilst these figures show the scale of the challenges facing the economy, they demonstrate the importance of short-term Government support to sustain the economy. The latest BICS results show optimism that numbers returning to work from furlough may soon start to rise.  

Please click here to see the dashboard, providing further headline statistics and points of analysis.