Dave Munton, Head of UK Markets and Client Service, Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented:
“To a certain extent, the news today is no surprise. The impact of coronavirus on the economy and wider country has been stark and our latest research has shown that business optimism levels remain subdued, both in the UK and globally.
“What is clear is that some parts of the economy are suffering far more than others, with the aviation, tourism and leisure industries under particular strain. The focus now will be on recovering the economy, but as the situation continues to change, almost daily, any rebuild will need to look different to what’s gone before. The Autumn Budget will play a vital role in outlining how the country will move through this.
“The priority for businesses should be in maintaining stability and continuing to do the basics well. A tight focus on cost and cash management will remain critical to building their resilience to any future changes.
“The level of activity for the remainder of the year will be fundamental in determining what 2021 will look like. Before the pandemic, the fundamentals of the UK economy were strong and this has not changed. But as restrictions continue and local lockdowns start to become more frequent, it is increasingly challenging for businesses to grow and remain sustainable.
“There is a balance to be met in how we move forward from this, and it will not be a quick journey. The upcoming end to the furlough scheme will be another definitive moment for many businesses and determine how, and indeed if, they are able to move forward. The path to recovery will not be smooth and it is critical that businesses take their learnings from the past few months to ensure they’re prepared for further disruption as we continue to navigate a way forward.”