Businesses from a range of sectors across Coventry and Warwickshire have given the Bank of England their views on the current economic climate – amidst a warning that unemployment could approach double pre-crisis levels.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce held a business panel meeting with Graeme Chaplin, the Bank of England’s Agent in the West Midlands, to give firms an opportunity to feedback on how they are managing during the Coronavirus crisis.
It came as figures showed that unemployment in the UK had hit 4.1 per cent and CPI inflation fell to 0.2 per cent.
Graeme said: “The last time we held this meeting was just at the very start of the Covid-19 crisis, before we knew what the extent of it was going to be.
“Since then, we’ve been through a lockdown of large areas of the economy – followed by a gradual reopening, varying by sector.
“That has led to a rebound of economic activity through the summer, but the speed of recovery is likely to begin to slow into the fourth quarter of 2020 and early 2021.
“Some of the Government support schemes are now being phased out – particularly the Job Retention Scheme – and the end of that support, coupled with the impact of Covid-19, could see the unemployment rate push up to around 7.5 per cent by the end of the year.
“What is hard to predict is how businesses, individuals and Governments in the UK and overseas will to react to the uncertain path of the pandemic in the coming months. Many firms – especially in an area such as the West Midlands – would benefit from a pick-up in the global economy.”
Sean Rose, policy officer at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said companies had given a range of views on how they are currently performing and what they are predicting for the coming months.
He said: “It was great to hear from Graeme Chaplin and, most importantly, for him to hear from companies across Coventry and Warwickshire.
“He was given a perspective from a whole range of businesses of different sizes and sectors – from manufacturing through to education – and that information will now be fed back to the Bank nationally.”