Thursday 31 December 2020 2:00 am

Three quarters of small businesses set to hire next year as vaccine boosts confidence

Small businesses are looking forward to hiring further staff in 2021 as the vaccine rollout boosts confidence for the year ahead.

Some 77 per cent of businesses plan to increase their workforce, with four in ten aiming to do so as early as Q1.

The research, conducted by Starling Bank and the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, suggests that the vaccine rollout has been a vital part of restoring confidence across the wider economy.

Read more: Could 2021 be the FTSE’s year?

Small businesses were asked about 2021 before the UK’s medicines regulator approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, which is likely to boost optimism further.

Anne Boden, Founder and CEO of Starling Bank, said: “As we head into the New Year it’s great to see the continued resilience and optimism of many British business owners who have been hit very hard by the pandemic.”

The figures will raise eyebrows, as many economists expect a significant uptick in unemployment next year as the economy recovers from its 2020 battering.

The furlough scheme, which has protected jobs through the course of strict lockdown restrictions, will be wound down at the end of April.

However, if the rollout of the vaccine accelerates and the economy reopens quicker than expected, that could signal a sharper recovery than many fear.

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