The results are in! More than half of consumers feel that the Government still isn’t doing enough to support businesses

There are rumblings afoot that Lockdown 3 could soon start to ease. But until Boris gives us the green light to throw open our doors (and our arms), we're keeping busy analysing the data from our latest survey. This time around we asked whether enough is being done to support the businesses decimated by the COVID-19 restrictions.

The results are in and there's concern in the air. Eight in 10 consumers fear their favourite high street stores won't survive the latest lockdown and more than half of consumers feel the Government isn't doing enough to support businesses.

Is the Government doing enough?

When asked whether they felt that the Government is doing enough to support the retail and hospitality sector on their high street, 31 per cent of respondents said that the government is ‘not doing enough’, while a further 22 per cent stated that the government is ‘definitely not doing enough’. 

A mere 8 per cent of participants felt the government is ‘doing enough’, while 39 per cent believe the government is doing ‘what it can’.

"Independent retailers have never been more vulnerable," says bira CEO

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of bira, the British Independent Retailers Association comments: “This important research shows how much people care about their high street. Independent retailers have never been more vulnerable and now is not the time to remove the support that was made available last March. 

“We must see the extension of the rates holiday for the whole 2021/22 and an extension of the rent moratorium. By doing this, the high street will every chance of recovering and servicing the needs of its communities – it is what the people want.”

Opinion on whether closing the sector is the right thing to do however, is more split, with 56 per cent of those surveyed supporting the decision to close non-essential retail across the UK - with the remaining 44% not supporting the step.

Will your favourite stores survive the lockdown?

Polly Barnfield OBE, Maybe* CEO, adds: “While over half of consumers may feel that closing elements of the retail sector is required right now, there is a genuine concern among the public that our high street businesses aren’t receiving the level of support that they need in these circumstances.

The Government needs to address this situation by either offering more support to struggling businesses or urgently improve its messaging to highlight how it is helping the high street.”

Meanwhile, 85 per cent of consumers are either ‘very concerned’ or ’slightly concerned’ about whether their favourite firms will survive the latest raft of restrictions. 15 per cent are not unconcerned about whether their favourite retailers will make it through the lockdown.

Are people embracing alternative shopping methods to help keep businesses open?

Barnfield continues, “A large number of consumers fear for the futures of their favourite retailers which is testament to the value that we place on our high streets. Our bricks and mortar businesses mean so much to our local economies and communities, and when they re-open, we have to go and support them.”

Encouragingly, the survey found that over 70% or respondents are happy to support local independents offering ‘click and collect’, other online or takeaway services during lockdown.

The results from the survey have been featured by multiple press outlets, including 365 Retail.

Key takeaway

A month after all ‘non-essential’ retailers were forced to close their doors, businesses are continuing to feel the brutal impact of the restrictions. Though consumers are eager to supporting local retail using alternative methods, it's not enough to keep the smaller businesses afloat as they navigate the uncertain tide of the pandemic. More help is needed and fast, otherwise the post-COVID retail landscape looks certain to be a bleak one.

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