“While the latest ONS GDP figures offer a glimmer of hope, businesses need to remain realistic about the outlook. The first lockdown in the UK resulted in significant economic impact and, with a second national lockdown in place, Dun & Bradstreet’s country risk outlook for the UK has shifted to ‘deteriorating’ – while the overall rating remains on an all-time low.
“National and local lockdowns put immense strain on every sector, but one that faces tremendous difficulty, and is a particular cause for concern, is the eating and drinking sector where there’s been a significant 54% quarter-on-quarter increase in corporate liquidations in Q3 2020. And although there’s optimism around a possible mass rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine that will lead to an economic recovery – with stocks lifting in London again – late payments and liquidations remain on the rise.
“Analysis of available trade payment data shows a marked decrease in prompt payment performance since the first lockdown in March 2020 with the percentage of businesses paying bills on time down from 47.2% in March to 40.8% in August 2020. This increased slightly in September 2020, but Dun & Bradstreet predicts that the impact of a second national lockdown will reverse this trend again and lead to an increase in late payments.