A survey of Cornish businesses has found that 40 per cent fear they will not last another month.

Of those that responded, 90 per cent said the coronavirus outbreak has had a "significant" impact on their businesses, with none completely unaffected.

Three-quarters are reporting cashflow issues, with 88 per cent saying they have seen reduced demand for products and services. More than a quarter have already laid of staff, at an average of five per business.

Almost 90 per cent of respondents said their business will not survive more than six months if current restrictions continue, and 40 per cent said they may not last a month.

Businesses said the most urgent requirements at this time are cash grants, support for wages and deferred payment of taxes like VAT and PAYE. Another priority was access to information about the help available.

As a result, the Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which commissioned the study, is calling on the government to speed up how quickly it gets the promised support to businesses.

The survey was launched earlier this week in partnership with the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub, Cornwall Council, Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses, and received 182 responses in 48 hours.

Mark Duddridge, chair of the region's LEP, said: “Businesses are on the precipice and for many there is no safety net without government support.

“The government’s interventions are unprecedented and very welcome, but we are urging the Treasury to make the promised cash available to local authorities right now so that grants can be paid. And we need urgent clarity from HMRC about how the Job Retention Scheme will operate before tens of thousands of jobs are lost in our economy.

“Businesses are reluctant to take on debt in the current climate and many are worried about deferring VAT and PAYE because they fear a tax bombshell next year.

"We need maximum flexibility from lenders and HMRC so those obstacles can be overcome. And we need to be looking longer term. Many tourism businesses are telling us they may not survive the winter if the current season is entirely lost.”

To help businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19, the LEP and Cornwall Council have increased the capacity of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Growth Hub to help businesses navigate the range of support available to them.

Businesses are urged to visit the Growth Hub website ciosgrowthhub.com which is regularly updated with the latest information, or call 01209 708660 during office hours. The service is free.

The results of the survey, which remains open on the website, are being fed back directly to government by the LEP to help shape ongoing business support activity.

Businesses responding include hospitality, leisure, wholesale, retail, construction, manufacturing, software, automotive, marketing, IT, electrical, marine, beauty, farming, training, consultancy, plumbing, telecoms, engineering, recruitment, estate agents, gaming, renewable energy and machinery.