Government statistics show that during the pandemic 37% of Sheffield’s workforce have either been furloughed or received self-employment support.
The House of Commons Library this week released statistics on the uptake of government coronavirus business support, detailing the distribution of support funds by local area . Our graduate intern Anne-Marie has taken a look at the statistics to give some initial impressions of to what extent Sheffield made the most use of coronavirus business support relative to the rest of the UK.
The available support consisted of employment schemes, such as the furlough and self-employed support schemes, several types of business loans, the COVID corporate financing facility, business rates relief and VAT deferrals. This short blog post focuses on employment schemes and business loans.
1 in 3 of the population at some point furloughed
By midnight 16th August 2020, 1.2 million employers had furloughed 9.6 million jobs over the course of the pandemic. On average, 32% of workers across the UK have at some point in the pandemic been furloughed, with the highest rate in the West Midlands at 34%. Within industries, the food and accommodation sector had the highest furlough rate at 77%, whilst the wholesale and retail industry furloughed the highest number of jobs at 1.9 million. The number of furloughs at a given time peaked on the 8th of May 2020 at 8.9 million.
The levels of self-employment income support were also high. In the first round up to 19 July, 2.7 million claims were made totalling £7.8 billion. In the second round from the 17 August, 296,850 claims up to the 17 August totalled £768.9 million. According to the government report, by the 31 July, 77% of the eligible population claimed self-employment income support, with the highest number of these coming from the construction industry .
In Sheffield, a total of 74,300 jobs were furloughed and 19,700 self-employment support claims were made representing some 37% of the workforce
Data for Sheffield includes Sheffield Central, South East, Brightside and Hillsborough, Heeley and Penistone and Stocksbridge. Furlough uptake rates in Sheffield varied between 23% in Sheffield Hallam and 32% in Sheffield South East. This puts most areas of Sheffield below the UK average of 32% furlough rate. The self-employment claims in Sheffield totalled £53.2 million, with uptake rates ranging between 75% and 83%. This is at or slightly above the UK average of 77%, possibly because construction, the industry with the highest number of self-employment support claims across the UK, is the third-largest industry in Sheffield. In total, during the pandemic 37% of Sheffield’s workforce have either been furloughed or have received self-employment support.
The Government offered four primary financial loan schemes for businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Bounce Back Loan Scheme, backed 100% by the Government, offers all businesses loans of up to £50,000 or 25% of turnover. The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), backed 80% by the Government, offers loans of up to £5 million for businesses with a turnover under £45 million. The Coronavirus Larger Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) offers loans to larger businesses. The Future Fund provides loans to businesses that rely on equity investment and are pre-profit, and therefore cannot access the other business support schemes.
In total, over 1 million businesses have accessed loans worth over £53 billion (approval rates were high)
Of the applications to the CBILS scheme, 49% were approved, with 60,409 loans totalling £13.68 billion. For the CLBILS scheme, 55% of loans were approved, with 516 loans totalling £3.5 billion. The Bounce Back scheme had an approval rate of 82%, with 1,174,854 loans totalling £35,47 billion. Finally, the Future Fund approved 65% of claims, funding 590 claims totalling £590,000. The regional spread of the loans was relatively proportionate to the population. 
In Sheffield, 7,327 businesses accessed loan support worth £311.2 million
For Sheffield, only data on the CBILS and Bounce Back schemes are available. On the CBILS scheme, 378 businesses claimed £87.9 million in loan support. The Bounce Back loan scheme saw 6,949 loans totalling £223.3 million – these loans covered some 46% of the total business base.  The majority of business loans were given in Sheffield Central, Sheffield South East and Penistone and Stocksbridge.
Want to understand take up in your local economy better? Need help in developing some clear actions to support business recovery? Speak to Karl Dalgleish (firstname.lastname@example.org).