Coronavirus and the impact on landowners and rural businesses

18 Dec 2020

tractor in field illustration

Welcome to the results of our survey in conjunction with The CLA, where we examine the impact of Coronavirus on landowners and rural businesses. Over 90 respondents took part, which included agribusinesses, diversified estates, farming businesses, leisure, tourism and hospitality, and property investment businesses.

During 28 September-12 October, participants were asked questions about their business, including their use of government support measures and their overall sentiment. The largest proportion of our respondents (50%) classified themselves as a diversified estate.

Given the impact of Coronavirus on the entire economy, our research found that the biggest concerns for the businesses surveyed were the reinstatement of lockdown measures (which of course have now come to fruition) and the removal of BPS (Basic Payment Scheme). Conversely, we found out that the top positive to come out of this situation was that there is a higher demand for rural property, with 48% of respondents picking this.

Interestingly, at the time of answering, 56% of those surveyed said they had not put any of their staff on furlough, with a further 26% commenting they had only furloughed up to 25% of their workforce. Also of particular note, 63% of respondents reported lower levels of debt at the time of answering, when compared to March 2020.

We hope you find our results interesting, and provide you with valuable insights into the sentiment of the sector in these uncertain times.

Elizabeth Hartless, partner