Nearly half of firms fear ‘no cash left within three months’

Another survey also revealed that one third of Scots businesses are at 'high risk' of collapse due to Covid-19.

Nearly half of firms fear ‘no cash left within three months’ Pixabay

Just under half of Scottish businesses responding to an industry survey said they expect to run out of cash within three months.

A total of 48% of the 351 responses to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) snap study said current cashflow would not extend beyond three months.

Of this, 13% said they would run out in under a month, while a further 9% said they already had no cash reserves left.

The results, which are released as a separate report analysing more than 250,000 companies in Scotland, found around one third are at “high risk” of collapse due to coronavirus.

The SCC study was carried out between April 14 and 24 and found more than three-fifths of firms (64%) reported gaps in the current Government business support measures to deal with the pandemic.

The main complaint recorded was a perceived lack of accessibility to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which only 17% of respondents use or are planning to.

Of those surveyed, half intend to furlough at least half of their staff or more, with 19% of these intending to furlough all of their staff.

A total of 78 firms (22%) do not plan to furlough any staff.

SCC chief executive Liz Cameron said: “Both the UK and Scottish Government have moved quickly to staunch this catastrophic decline but what businesses are saying is it’s still not enough.

“If we are to prevent the Scottish economy from being damaged beyond recognition, businesses need cash in the bank now to be fit for when the country is able to start returning to day to day activities.”

Meanwhile, in a separate survey researchers analysed data from 266,954 businesses across Scotland and found 29% of these were at risk given how their supply chains operate.

A further 35% were said to be either at low or medium risk.

Academics from Durham University Business School found while many operate through global supply chains, the impact of the pandemic is felt at a local level.

The research indicates this is due to a combination of factors, including complexity and configuration of supply chains, company resilience, and use of technology.

The report highlights the need to support rapid innovation and inclusive growth in the Scottish knowledge economy, particularly in high-risk sectors such as ICT, scientific and technical activities and support services.

Co-author Kiran Fernandes, professor of operations management at the business school, said this use of knowledge to create goods and services is the primary driver of the Scottish economy at 79% along with the service sector.

He added: “Most companies in these sectors have never experienced such an external shock and therefore were not prepared with mitigation strategies for their complex global supply chains.

“Our study shows that many of the supply chain configurations within the knowledge and secondary [manufacturing] sector not only need investment but an internationalisation strategy that can help these high-tech companies connect to trade corridors beyond the existing networks.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Ministers are listening to concerns from businesses as we continue to explore how best to support businesses during this unprecedented economic crisis.

“The Scottish Government is going to great lengths to support businesses and our total package for businesses now totals £2.3bn – which is more than the consequentials we received from the UK Government – and actively works to fill the gaps in the UK scheme.” 

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