ITS sector looks for the positives during the coronavirus crisis

A quarter of the private sector members of ITS (UK) have reported that the Coronavirus crisis has had a significant effect on their businesses while one in ten of those companies has said it has had no effect.

But despite the uncertainty and concern about the future, most say the initial impact has not been too severe and they remain cautiously optimistic about recovery provided the crisis does not last too long.

The company’s were responding to a survey by ITS (UK) on behalf of the DfT which was looking to gauge the sector’s main challenges so it could respond accordingly.

The survey also found that three-quarters had seen some lost business with work put on hold and contract awards deferred. But only a third have so far needed to either furlough staff or cut pay. More than half of the companies are confident that their business will return to normal when the crisis is over, with only a tenth ‘very worried’ about the future.

While government intervention has provided a measure of support, some members, such as company directors, are ineligible for help. The survey suggests that more clarity about forward investment for research and infrastructure is needed from central and local government.

Respondents said it is too early to know what the real impact of the crisis will be, saying this will become clearer in the next two-t-three months. They also said that government spending on infrastructure will make a big difference to the industry if it is delivered as planned.

Some members reported positives from the current situation. They mentioned that efficiencies have been found as a result of more digital working and using the time to review strategy and goals. There is also widespread agreement that the industry should work to ensure that the decrease in transport use, particularly traffic levels, is not completely reversed once the crisis is over.

“While it is very concerning to see the numbers of members reporting negative effects of the current crisis, it is not surprising given the huge changes we have all had to make,” said Jennie Martin, Secretary General at ITS (UK). “However, what is heartening is the can-do attitude of members and their overall optimism for the future. Any member struggling can rest assured that ITS (UK) will do all it can to help, and across all our members we hope to learn from this crisis and find some positive outcomes.”

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