World News

A quarter of UK firms temporarily shut due to coronavirus: ONS

LONDON (Reuters) – A quarter of companies in Britain had temporarily closed or paused trading by early April due to the coronavirus lockdown, according to a survey published by the official statistics office on Thursday.

“For responding businesses who were still trading, an average of 21% of the workforce had been furloughed (under the terms of the UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme),” the Office for National Statistics said.

A further 5% of the workforce were off sick or in self-isolation because of the coronavirus.

The survey of 5,316 businesses covered the period March 23 to April 5.

The ONS said 38% of firms reported their turnover was “substantially lower than normal.”

(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Susan Fenton and Andrew Cawthorne)