Businesses in northern Devon are being asked how the coronavirus pandemic has affected them, to help their local councils ensure businesses are receiving the right support and to help shape recovery plans.

North Devon and Torridge district councils, together with North Devon+, are appealing to local business owners to take part in a short survey that asks what the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak has been on them and what steps they are taking. The results of the survey will assist both councils in identifying where support is most needed, make sure every business is accessing the help available to them and inform central government about the impact of the pandemic on businesses in northern Devon. 

Councillor David Worden, Leader of North Devon Council, said: "As councils, we are very aware of the stress being put on businesses during this pandemic and we want to do everything we can to support business owners through these unprecedented times. We want to ensure that the voices of all businesses are heard and that everyone is accessing the help available. I appeal to business owners to take five minutes to complete our survey to assist us in understanding exactly where support is needed. The results of the survey will also be vitally important in helping develop recovery plans and giving the government a true picture of how the pandemic is affecting us here in northern Devon."

Councillor Ken James, Leader of Torridge District Council said: “We all recognise that the economy has been hit hard by the current crisis and that businesses have been forced to cope with many sudden and far reaching changes to the way they operate. While we’re proud of how our Business Rates team has processed nearly 2000 Business Support grants worth nearly £22M in pay-outs there are still many businesses to which this doesn’t apply. While there are other schemes available we need desperately to find out how businesses are coping and where the gaps in support are and in order to do this we need as much data as possible. This survey will provide that key data so that we can track how businesses continue to be impacted, what measures have been effective and what messages we need to continue to bring to the governments attention. Please take part and make sure your voice is heard.”

The survey has already been sent out to businesses in North Devon and Torridge districts and is available to complete online at www.northdevon.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-impact-survey or https://www.engagespace.co.uk/devon/survey/ConRespForm.aspx?Consult_Id=2844&request_response=new&status=&criteria=I. The councils are encouraging business owners to complete the form by Friday 24 April to enable them to understand the needs of businesses in northern Devon and to help shape recovery plans. More information on the support available to businesses, including a flowchart to help businesses access any support they are entitled to, is available on North Devon Council's website: www.northdevon.gov.uk/coronavirus/business-support