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Exeter businesses' hopes rise

It's a mixed picture

Nearly half of businesses in the Exeter travel-to-work area say they're more confident of recovery than they were last month. But a survey by Exeter Chamber of Commerce shows more than a quarter (28 per cent) think things could be worse than they'd previously predicted. 

While optimism has increased overall, many businesses are planning to scale back operations after lockdown, with only a third expecting to trade at full capacity.  Just over half of businesses felt that the government schemes such as bounce back loans have provided the financial support they need.

Exeter Chamber board director Clodagh Murphy, said: “This survey presents a mixed response from businesses, and reflects how quickly things continue to shift in the landscape.  Of the business leaders we have spoken with at the forefront of their minds is how to do this in a way that keeps both colleagues and customers safe while building their business back as lockdown eases.

"It is clear that some industries are likely to be able to begin trading quickly, while for others the return may not come soon enough.  We are working with members and other organisations to help support all businesses through this, recently launching the We Are Stronger Together video campaign, as well as running The Friday Lockdown Shows and other events to give business access to advice and information.   

"Exeter has a strong and resilient business community, which is working hard and making great strides towards recovery.”

In response to the businesses’ needs, Exeter Chamber has formed a taskforce, Stronger Together, working with other business organisations including InExeter, the Federation of Small Businesses, Tribe - a group that encourages businesses to buy from other local businesses, Heart of the South West Skills Hub, Tech South West, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council.  The group has launched a campaign to support local businesses, #WeAreStrongerTogether

Full survey results are at: https://www.exeterchamber.co.uk/uploads/attachments/ExeterChamberOfCommerceBusinessSurveyApril2020.pdf

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