Thousands of Derby businesses are to be asked how the Coronavirus pandemic is impacting their operations and what help they need to recover.
The study will help the city shape its plans to kick-start the local economy post-lockdown and tailor the support it can offer to companies.
It aims to understand how firms have already been affected, whether they have had to furlough or lay off staff and whether they have accessed government loans or grants.
Companies will be asked to give a view on the impacts still to come – on the size of their workforce, their markets, their product ranges and supply chains and to outline their chief concerns.
They will also be asked about the kinds of assistance they might need to bounce back, including financial support, business planning advice, help with exports or sourcing new suppliers.
The survey will take around 15 minutes to complete and data collected will guide the work of the Economic Recovery Task Force, a partnership which is harnessing expertise from the public and private sectors in the city.
News of the project comes just a few days after Derby’s largest private sector employer, Rolls-Royce, announced plans for 9,000 redundancies across its global workforce. It is not yet known how many of these will be in Derby.
The task force is in talks with central government, Rolls-Royce management and the unions about how it can directly support the company, affected workers and the wider supply chain.
Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader of Derby City Council, said the city was determined to do all it could to help business deal with the impacts of the virus and the resulting lockdown.
We know already that many local companies have suffered because of this health emergency. We have been in direct dialogue with businesses and have distributed millions of pounds of grants to some of those affected. However, it is important that we build the most detailed picture possible of the impact that COVID-19 is having on the Derby economy.
We want to understand how confident companies are of a recovery or whether they fear they will have to make redundancies. We want to understand how individual sectors are being affected and how firms are having to modify their operations and even their product offerings to cope. And, crucially, we want to know which measures they would find most beneficial as they re-start and revive their businesses.
Emails will be going out to companies in the next few days, with instructions on how to fill in the survey. Any firm that doesn’t receive an invitation to take part but that wants to can contribute online on the DCC website.
Replies will be collated over the next four weeks and fed to the recovery task force. The survey results will be considered alongside responses to studies being carried out in the wider region by D2N2 and East Midlands Chamber.
The task force has already requested a meeting with Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick MP to understand how central government can assist with Derby’s recovery strategy.
The group is concentrating on three phases of economic recovery:
- Restart – helping the city get back to work;
- Revival – helping to boost confidence and demand;
- Renewal – making strategic changes that will help produce a more resilient local economy and a more environmentally sustainable city.
Workstreams have been set up to consider business adaptation support, transport adaptation, sector-specific support networks, city centre transformation and demand stimulus.
Councillor Holmes said that more than 3,000 Derby businesses had already received grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 under the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Fund.
Next week, Derby City Council will be opening online applications for an additional top-up grant scheme that is designed to support businesses who are ineligible for any other government grant schemes but still have on-going fixed property costs, such as rent, service charge, property insurance and utility bills.
To take the survey, please visit the DCC website.