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  1. ITV Report

Coronavirus: the businesses battling to survive

  • Watch a video report from ITV Anglia's Rebecca Haworth

Every business in the UK has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak: pubs, theatres and non-essential retailers have been told to shut their doors; supermarkets have had to deal with unprecedented demand; and manufacturers have been asked to repurpose their machines to create ventilators for the NHS.

ITV Anglia has spoken to several businesses to find out how they have adapted to the crisis.

Support fund for Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire businesses

Milton Keynes and Northamptonshire chambers of commerce have teamed up to create a £100,000 fund to support members.

It will provide a rebate on their membership fee for the chambers for any firm negatively impacted by the outbreak.

"We realise that our members, with the current crisis going on, are really having trouble with cash flows.

"So we figured out as a membership organisation that potentially they won't have the money to pay for their membership and that will take them away from the mechanisms they actually need at this point in time.

"So we put together a package to defer and give a rebate on memberships to really help them in the short term."

– Paul Griffiths, Chief Executive of Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce

The goats cheese supplier acting as a community shop

Sam Steggles' day job involves supplying restaurants, airlines and pubs with goats cheese from his base in Honingham, near Norwich.

But was demand from those industries has dropped he has expanded his range of products in order to support the local community.

The Goat Shed usually supplies restaurants, pubs and airlines Credit: ITV Anglia

"We've obviously seen a massive fall in orders from those guys because everywhere's shut, people aren't flying. So we've opened and expanded our goat shed even further.

"We're now supplying fresh fruit and vegetables, we've got a supply of toilet rolls, we've got what people are asking us for, lots of potatoes. It's really giving the local community what they need."

– Sam Steggles, goats cheese maker

Building industry in the balance

Builders working through the lockdown in Bowthorpe, Norwich Credit: ITV Anglia

The construction industry in England has not been officially shut down yet - with the government saying workers should continue to travel if it were impossible to work from home.

The move has drawn plenty of criticism, including from Good Morning Britain's Pier Morgan, who said construction sites risk adding extra pressure to the NHS.

Morgan said: "Imagine if [a construction worker] falls over and breaks a leg, who's going to treat them? Which doctor is going to have to be taken away from the front line to do that."

But the industry shutting down would cause its own problems, especially as many workers are self-employed.

Rory Holbrook runs a haulage and plant-hire firm in Norfolk - he said they are already losing business.

Rory Holbrook's haulage firm is among those companies struggling as a result of the virus Credit: ITV Anglia

"Things have gone a little bit quieter. The main things that are carrying on are the MOD work, but as the construction sites are closing we're down by about 25% at the moment.

"If Boris Johnson calls the construction industry and says it's got to close then we'll be closed by the end of the day."

– Rory Holbrook

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