UK economy 'still stuck in first gear'

The UK's economy is 'still stuck in first gear', with many businesses operating at half their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) capacity, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

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The UK's economy is 'still stuck in first gear', with many businesses operating at half their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) capacity, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC's Coronavirus Impact Tracker found that over half of businesses were suffering from reduced demand. In fact, customer demand and possible future local lockdowns were rated the two top obstacles to maintaining day-to-day operations.

A third of firms said they intend to make redundancies over the next three months, with 13% of businesses having already laid off staff.

Commenting on the survey, Adam Marshall, Director General of the BCC, said: 'Our findings demonstrate that the UK's economic restart is still very much in first gear. Businesses are grappling with reduced customer demand, an ongoing cash crunch and the potential for further lockdowns during an uncertain autumn and winter ahead.

'The time has come for the government to take radical steps to slash the tax burden around employment to help companies pay valued staff, rather than the Revenue.

'A major boost to the Employment Allowance and an increase in the threshold for employers' national insurance contributions (NICs) should both be in the Chancellor's sights if he wants to help viable companies save jobs as the furlough scheme comes to an end.'

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