28 Apr EAST OF ENGLAND SEES SHARP DECLINE IN BUSINESS CONFIDENCE DURING APRIL
Business confidence in the East of England fell 30 points during April to -29%, according to the latest Business Barometer from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.
Companies in the East reported lower confidence in their business prospects month-on-month, at -13%. When taken alongside their views of the economy overall, this gives a headline confidence reading of -29%.
The Business Barometer questions 1,200 businesses monthly and provides early signals about UK economic trends both regionally and nationwide.
In an illustration of the impact of COVID-19 on the region’s business, the majority of firms reported a significant decrease in demand for their goods and services, with 66% seeing demand fall in April compared to 16% who saw it rise.
More than a quarter (26%) of businesses in the region reported operating at below 50% capacity, while 44% were operating above this level. Almost a third (30%) weren’t operating at all.
Of the 67% of businesses that reported disruption to their supply chain during April, a third (33%) expected the situation to improve within three months, while 4% expected it would take more than 12 months to return to normal.
David Atkinson, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Disruption from COVID-19 has seen demand for local firms’ goods and services hit hard, alongside major disruption to their supply chains. All in all, this has created extremely challenging trading conditions for businesses in the East of England.
“We’re working hard to help them navigate the unprecedented challenge of coronavirus and this includes setting aside £2bn of arrangement fee-free finance for those directly affected by the pandemic.”