Coronavirus: More than a third of a million small businesses may not survive winter, warns Labour

More than a third of a million small businesses may not survive through the winter, Labour has warned.

Analysis of official figures by the party’s shadow business secretary Ed Miliband suggested that as many as 390,000 small businesses are worried that they will not make it to the spring because of losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown restrictions.

And around 1 million do not have cash reserves to last beyond three months, with some 16 per cent of the total saying that they have no reserves left at all.

More than 520,000 small businesses had seen turnover plummet by more than half even before the second England-wide lockdown began in November, said Labour.

Labour said the figures, taken from an Office for National Statistics business survey, suggested that businesses at risk of failing include 44,810 hairdressers and beauty salons, 8,515 hotels and B&Bs, 5,420 butchers, 985 toy shops, 2,455 greengrocers, 1,040 bookshops, 3,250 bakeries, 2,490 breweries and distilleries and 3,140 automotive manufacturers

Speaking ahead of Small Business Saturday this weekend, Mr Miliband said: “Small businesses are the beating heart of towns and cities across the country – shops, pubs, manufacturers, salons, suppliers and all those that make up the vibrant fabric of our communities. 

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