British businesses among “most optimistic” in Europe, Covid-19 study suggests

Businesses in the UK are more optimistic about their post-coronavirus prospects than in almost any other country in Europe, a major study has revealed.

The finding forms part of global research published by Facebook, the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

According to the paper, three in five (60 per cent) British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) “remain hopeful” for the future of their business, despite two in five (43 per cent) being forced to close throughout the coronavirus lockdown and three in five (58 per cent) seeing sales fall.

With the support of the Government’s comprehensive rescue package, which includes business rates relief, affordable finance, grant funding and tax payment deferrals, it means that businesses in the UK are more optimistic than almost anywhere else in Europe.

Elsewhere, the study shows that only Denmark (72 per cent), Norway (66 per cent) and Sweden (66 per cent) are more positive about their chances of survival.

Less than three in five (58 per cent) German businesses, meanwhile, are hopeful about the future, while just a third (35 per cent) of French businesses say the same.

Across the whole continent, businesses with an online presence are performing better than non-digital counterparts and have an improved outlook on survivability as a result.

Britain leads the way in this respect, with 65 per cent of UK businesses describing themselves as “digital-savvy”.

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