Business insights and impact on the UK Economy

04 June 2021

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) conducts voluntary fortnightly business survey (BICS) about financial performance, workforce, prices, trade, and business resilience. The aim of this experimental survey is to assess the impact of the coronavirus and other events on UK businesses. 

The main points in the recent survey include:

  • The percentage of businesses currently trading has increased to 87%, the highest proportion since comparable estimates began in June 2020, with a further 3% of businesses intending to restart trading in the next two weeks.
  • The percentage of businesses currently trading in the accommodation and food service activities industry rose from 61% to 83% during May 2021, as further relaxation of coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations allowed the re-opening of indoor dining.
  • The proportion of businesses' workforce on furlough leave has fallen to 8% in mid-May 2021, as a result of coronavirus restrictions continuing to be relaxed across the UK; this is comparable with the lowest recorded proportion in October 2020 since the furlough scheme began.
  • The proportion of businesses experiencing challenges in importing and exporting has remained broadly unchanged since the start of January 2021, following a rise after the end of the EU exit transition period in December 2020.
  • The main challenge reported by currently trading businesses involved in exporting was additional paperwork, and for those importing, it was change in transportation costs.

The full ONS report can be found from here.

Trading status