A new survey has suggested almost two-thirds of Richmond businesses are confident of surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and most have begun planning a recovery strategy.

A snapshot survey of 36 mostly retail and hospitality organisations in Richmond showed that whilst COVID-19 has had a negative effect on over 86 per cent of those polled, 61 per cent are confident of getting through the pandemic.

However, the survey which was conducted during the week commencing May 4 by Be Richmond, also indicates that a quarter of respondents believe it is too early to make a judgement.

Over a third of the organisations contacted are not currently trading. Of those that are operating, all are using online facilities or a mix of online and physical premises. No respondents were trading solely via physical premises.

Two thirds of businesses questioned have furloughed staff as part of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme and most have already claimed back wages via the online site.

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Ellen Amorina Storrar

Less clear is the picture on Richmond businesses claiming rates relief via the Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) and Retail Discount schemes. Only a third of respondents believe they qualify for rates relief with a further third unsure.

Ellen Amorina Storrar, the Be Richmond Manager believes she may have the answer to the rates relief puzzle:

“Small Business Rates Relief only applies to businesses with a rateable threshold value of up to £51,000. Many businesses in Richmond have rateable values in excess of the SBRR threshold and are struggling as a result. That’s why, along with other BIDs we’re supporting the ‘Raise The Bar’ campaign which is lobbying the Chancellor to raise the limit to £150,000.

Our snapshot survey was designed to give us a feel for how Richmond businesses are coping during the pandemic. It is encouraging that the findings indicate a good level of resilience and confidence of surviving. However, we need to remember that the survey sample was fairly small. There is no room for complacency. Additional Government rates relief support would make a huge difference to many of our members.”