We’re not there yet.
But it seems the majority of Cork business owners can see the light at the end of a very long tunnel, despite a gruelling year.
According to the latest economic trends survey by Cork Chamber, published today, there has been a marked improvement in confidence in the Irish economy, with 83% of respondents indicating business confidence for the first part of 2021, up from 68% in the final months of last year.
There’s a long road ahead; 27% of respondents indicated a reduction in employee numbers in Q4 2020 and 43% of respondents experienced a decrease in turnover in Q4 2020, but 29% of respondents anticipate an increase in the coming weeks.
A significant cohort (38%) said their business will be affected by the increased cost of sourcing products and supplies from the UK post-Brexit, customs duties, or VAT charges.
“It’s been an incredibly tough 2020 on businesses in the region, and while we’re certainly not there yet, it’s very encouraging to see 83% of businesses reporting confidence, up from 68% in the previous quarter.” said Cork Chamber President, Paula Cogan.
“The very positive news on vaccines has given a much-needed boost to our business community at a time when their resilience is being tested to the core, as we entered the level 5 restrictions at the outset of 2021.
“The commercial rates waiver announcement for Q1 2021 is very welcome for those businesses most severely impacted, however concerns persist around the overly narrow focus of the qualifying criteria. We will continue to engage with Government on this aspect of the waiver, while also urging the earlier confirmation on such measures to support businesses in their efforts to manage the uncertainty and plan activities over the forthcoming months.”
Cork Chamber has called for an expansion to supports for non-public facing businesses impacted by Covid-19 and struggling to stay solvent.
“The recent announcement of the COVID Business Aid Scheme comes not a minute too soon.” added Cogan.
“While more clarity is needed on the details of the scheme and we urgently need to see this up and running, we are encouraged by the announcement. The next number of weeks and months are crucial for so many businesses and every effort must be made to support them to keep the lights on and people employed.”