The Falkirk Business Support Survey ran from 19/06/2020 to 13/07/2020. Overall 444 Businesses in Falkirk responded to the survey. There are 4,195 registered businesses in Falkirk (IDBR, Scottish Government, 2019), 10.6% responded to the survey.

This report will provide analysis of each of the questions set from the survey.

Overview of Business respondents

444 Businesses responded to the survey. 58.2% were self-employed. 247 (55.5%) of businesses are within the 0-4 employee size band, followed by 99 (22.2%) of businesses within the 5 to 9 employee size band.

Are you self employed?

Choice% of responses
Not answered2

What is the size of your business?

Size% of responses% Businesses in the Falkirk area
0 to 455.569.2
5 to 922.914.1
10 to 148.86.1
15 to 4977.5

Note: Businesses in the Falkirk area figures are the IDBR Falkirk Council business size, Scottish Government figures 2019

Sector analysis

Business survey respondents were asked to identify what sector they are in. Only 4 businesses did not answer this question. Overall there was a 10.6% response rate from businesses in Falkirk. The highest response rate was within Arts entertainment and recreation with 93.7% of businesses responding in this sector. The types of business who selected this industry included: hairdressers, beauticians and public houses.

The next largest response rate came from the education, human heath and social work activities with 23% of responses. Businesses included support services within the community and training centres.

There was a low response rate from the Construction industry with 4.4%, the construction rate has 12% of businesses within Falkirk. Wholesale, retail, trade had a 10.1% response rate, this is an acceptable response rate due to the current circumstances.

No returns from the following industries:

  • Electricity, gas steam and air conditioning supply
  • Water supply
  • Sewerage, waste management and remediation activities
  • Financial and insurance activities
Which sector is your business in? Survey responses Falkirk business
All Manufacturing 30 280
All Construction 22 505
Wholesale, Retail and Trade 76 755
Transportation and storage 10 205
Accommodation and food service activities 37 305
Information and communication 8 250
Financial and insurance activities 0 65
Real estate activities 4 80
Professional, scientific and technical activities 42 710
Administrative and support service activities 22 325
Education, Human health and social work activities 53 230
Arts, entertainment and recreation 89 95
Tourism 15  
Other service activities 30 230
Not Answered 4  
Total 444 4,190

Note: Businesses in the Falkirk area figures are the IDBR Falkirk Council business size, Scottish Government figures 2019

Financial support

Have you applied for any funds or financial support?

84.8% of businesses applied for financial support during the coronavirus situation.

ChoiceNumber of responses

Who have you received business support or advice from?

57.4% of businesses applied to Falkirk Council for support and advice, followed by Business Gateway (25.9%). Businesses could select multiple options to answer this question. 136 businesses opted not to answer the question

ChoiceNumber of responses
Falkirk Council233
Business Gateway105
Scottish Enterprise22

How difficult was the application process?

We asked how respondents found each application process on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being easy and 10 being difficult.

Falkirk Council

Funds or Grants 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund 48.7% 10.3% 2.6% 2.6% 10.3% 0% 0% 5.1% 5.1% 15.4%
Small Business Support Grant 54.4% 16.5% 6.7% 2.1% 4.2% 3.9% 3.2% 2.8% 1.8% 4.6%
Retail, Hospitality & Leisure Support Grant 41.3% 4.3% 6.5% 0% 10.9% 2.2% 6.5% 10.9% 6.5% 10.9%

Scottish Enterprise

Funds or Grants 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Creative, Tourism & Hospitality Enterprises Hardship Fund 12.5% 18.8% 0% 0% 12.5% 12.5% 6.3% 12.5% 0% 25%
Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund 8.6% 2.9% 5.7% 2.9% 8.6% 5.7% 11.4% 17.1% 0% 37.1%

Banks/Lenders Enterprise

Funds or Grants 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Bounce Back Loan Scheme 58.6% 13.8% 4.3% 5.2% 2.6% 0% 1.7% 4.3% 0.9% 8.6%
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 21.2% 0% 6.1% 0% 12.1% 6.1% 6.1% 12.1% 15.2% 21.2%

Do you have any comments about the application process for any of the above?

50 businesses responded to this question with. The analysis shows 52.4% found comments to be negative around 36.5% positive and 11.1% neutral. The negative comments concerned eligibility of grants/schemes, application forms were complex, lack of support for the application process. However, some businesses said they received helpful support from Falkirk Council staff, others found some of the application processes easy. Neutral comments included didn't have anything positive or negative to say about the application processes


"Our application was eased very much by the helpful support from Falkirk Council Staff member"

"I actually thought applying for the small business grant was very easy. Received an email after submitting application, as I had forgot to put something on the application. Found the person dealing with my application very helpful. Would just like to thank you for a very fast service. I don't think my business would have survived if I hadn’t received the grant”.

“Falkirk Council where very helpful in supporting the application processes; their help made the process very easy for business”.


“Bounceback Loan: The process was straight forward, but the language and form complex and complicated”.


“As a sole trader / director of a recent limited company (13 months trading successfully) I was simply “not eligible” for many of the grants or furlough schemes. This was highly frustrating and stressful and has drawn upon financial reserves that were earmarked for new service development in 2020”.

“The application to priority enterprise fund was frustrating and not clear on descriptions regarding what constitutes a “priority enterprise” - there was “no feedback” Given on rejection and no way to appeal. It was a joke!”

"Wasn't aware that Falkirk Council were doing business grants."

"We were unsuccessful on a technicality and the whole process was very frustrating."

"The grant was difficult to apply for as I only found out it was initially refused after chasing it up numerous times, despite businesses meeting the same criteria as mine that had been accepted, if it wasn’t for the Falkirk delivers team it would have been significantly more difficult."

"CJRS - complicated and complex mess!"

Business Situation

Do you anticipate requiring further financial support in the future?

30% of respondents said they would require further financial support in the future, with 48% saying they were unsure.

ChoiceNumber of responses

How does your current business optimism compare

Businesses were asked what they felt their current business optimism compares with last quarter and last year. 63.2% replied it will be lower than last quarter. 80.7% of businesses said they would have lower optimism compared to last year.

ChoiceLast quarterLast year

Do you anticipate making a loss in income this financial year?

72.3% of businesses said they would have loss of income this financial year, with 34.8% saying it will be between £1,000 to £9,999 and 39.4% said it would be between £10,000 to £49,999.

ChoiceNumber of responses
ChoiceNumber of responses
£0 to £99911
£1000 to £9,999112
£10,000 to £49,999127
£50,000 to £99,99934
£100,000 to £249,99923
£250,000 to £999,99912
Over £1,000,0003

Will you be able to cover the costs of your monthly fixed overheads without borrowing money?

62% of business believe they will be to cover the costs of your monthly fixed overheads and be able to reopen for trade without borrowing money.

ChoiceNumber of responses

How are you reopening?

44.7% of businesses said they will be reopening with reduced hours, 36.9% said they will re-open with normal hours. 14.9% of businesses said they did not close. 2.3% are planning on not reopening and 1.2% will have to close permanently.

ChoiceNumber of responses
Normal hours161
Reduced hours195
I do not plan to reopen this year10
I will have to close for good5
I haven't closed65

How many people did you employ on the 1st March 2020?

ChoiceNumber of responses
0 to 4208
5 to 985
10 to 1436
15 to 4928

Have you had to reduce your workforce?

ChoiceNumber of responses

How much have you reduced by?

Respondents were asked this question only if they answered yes to 'Have you had to reduce your workforce?'

ChoiceNumber of responses
1 to 444
5 to 910
10 to 194

Do you expect to reduce your workforce?

Respondents were asked this question only if they answered no to 'Have you had to reduce your workforce?'

ChoiceNumber of responses

How many people have you furloughed?

ChoiceNumber of responses
1 to 4115
5 to 949
10 to 1418
15 to 4922

What are the key issues being faced by your business at the moment in planning for recovery?

144 businesses responded to this question. 29.4% of business said finances was the key issue in planning for recover, this was followed by 27.1% saying maintaining business/customers and this included customer confidence. Safety included PPE, screens and social distancing followed with 18.1%.

The main areas of focus from the comments were:

  • Financial
  • Maintaining business/customers (incl customer confidence)
  • Safety (PPE, screens, social distancing)
  • Guidance/advice uncertainty
  • Time frame uncertainty
  • Staffing
  • Work location
  • Larger workload/busier than before
  • Digital

What further support do you feel you require for the next 6 months to allow your business to survive and adapt?

23.6% of businesses said that relaxation of certain regulations to allow businesses to adapt quickly to the new challenges being faced would be required over the next 6 months to allow business to survive after the coronavirus situation, this was followed by 19.5% needing information on where to source finance and funding.

ChoiceNumber of responses
Moving booking and payment systems online49
Other digital support57
Information on where to source finance and funding150
Advice or support on social distancing, testing and other COVID-19 related health matters120
Digital infrastructure51
Relaxation of certain regulations to allow businesses to adapt quickly to the new challenges being faced181
Help with recruitment and training of staff32

Is there any other comment you would like to make about your business situation?

164 businesses responded to this question, with 17 responding with ""no comments”.

  • 19.5% of businesses commented on the uncertainly of the future of their business
  • 11% commented on financial support, this included financial support they have already received and the need for financial support for the future.
  • 10.4% of businesses made comments on the eligibility of the grants.

The other category included a comment on better signposting of grants/schemes available, others have redesigned the business to survive the COVID-19 situation, one made a comment on the situation not being ideal for their business and another requiring digital support.

Other comments focused on:

  • Uncertainty of the future
  • Financial support
  • Eligibility for grants
  • Negative Outcomes
  • Optimisim about the future
  • Positive outcomes
  • Lack of support (Local and Central Government)
  • Received good support
  • Government guidance unsuitable
  • Impact of COVID-19

What recovery measures should we coordinate across the Forth Valley?

We are sharing our recovery plans and coordinating with Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils and 28.5% of respondents said enabling more flexible working practices by business space and 23.8% digital infrastructure recovery measures should be shared and coordinated across Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils.

ChoiceNumber of responses
Improved public transport94
Enabling more flexible working practices using business space128
Digital infrastructure107
Skills provision94