The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has suggested that the coronavirus crisis will have serious implications for the UK economy.

Although the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has said the forecast by the OBR is only one possible scenario, he admitted that it is the responsibility of the government that they be honest with people about what may be happening.

The OBR said a three-month lockdown followed by three months of partial restrictions would trigger an economic decline of 35.1 per cent in the quarter to June alone, following growth of 0.2 per cent in the first three months of this year.

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However, this impact is expected to be temporary and the decline in the economy will be dependent upon how long the country is in lockdown for and how quickly activity bounced back once restrictions were lifted.

It is now more important than ever that government release the funds announced in their record financial packages and they help secure the businesses and people most affected in order to ease the pressure on the economy.

Whilst it has been reported that local councils have begun processing application for the numerous schemes announced, businesses have voiced their opinions on not yet successfully accessing government loan and grant schemes.

The British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Coronavirus Business Impact Tracker has revealed that just two per cent of businesses surveyed had successfully accessed the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and 15 per cent have received grants. More worryingly, more than half of the firms only had three months cash or less in reserve.

In anticipation of the government’s Job Retention Scheme, 66 per cent of surveyed businesses have furloughed staff in anticipation of the scheme going live. The Network of Chambers across the UK will continue to lobby government to ensure the cash is made available to businesses as soon as possible and payments are made quickly.

It is essential that the support measures announced by the government over the last few weeks is fed down to local businesses in order to protect the economy and avoid further damage, with businesses taking a hit on their cash reserves and April payday fast approaching for furloughed staff, it is vital that schemes like CBILS and the Job Retention Scheme provide cash results.

For further information on the support and guidance available to business please visit our dedicated coronavirus support page at