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More than one in three restaurants and hotels fear they might have to shut for good within the next three months as the sector is badly hit by a second lockdown.
The Office for National Statistics said 34% of businesses in the accommodation and food services sector have “little or no confidence” they will last beyond the end of January.
Overall, one in seven (14%) British businesses fear the same fate, a survey carried out in the first two weeks of November shows.
Only about one in five (21%) accommodation and food businesses said they are highly confident about their future, 36% said they are moderately confident, while 10% said they are not sure.
It casts a strong light on the struggles many businesses are facing across the UK, as a wave of second lockdown measures were implemented by central and devolved governments.
The ONS said 13% of the businesses it surveyed said they had paused trading and did not intend to restart within the next two weeks at the time the form was filled out.
The worst hit sector is accommodation and food, where just 63% of companies are currently trading.
Administrative and support businesses, and those in the arts, entertainment and recreation space, are the second and third worst-hit, with only 75% and 76% of those companies still trading.
Thousands of businesses up and down Britain have been forced to close several times over the past year.
Many have tapped into Government support, furloughing their staff and taking out Government-backed loans.
#Liverpool's @LaurasBakery reflects on 10 year serving up sweet treats to the city. ? News on her Donate A Cake campaign, advice for other indies and her take on how Liverpool will survive the pandemic. ?
— The Guide Liverpool (@TheGuideLpool) November 19, 2020
But that has not stopped many businesses from going bust, and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs since the pandemic began in March.
Other ONS statistics show the economy is still much slower than usual. For instance it reported road traffic is around 22 percentage points lower than it was in early February.
Its figures show the total number of online job adverts increased slightly earlier this month, but are still only at 68% of the average from last year.
The proportion of adults shopping for anything other than food or medicine halved to only 10%, the lowest level since the middle of June.
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