April 8, 2021
How COVID-19 passports impact UK business confidence
While many can see the benefits, particularly for international travel, others are nervous for what they might mean ethically, and the impact they could have on everyday lives.
It was recently announced that the government is set to trial a series of measures in England to enable the safe return of large spectator events such as sports matches.
One of these measures are COVID-status certificates also known as ‘COVID passports’. While some are in favour, others see vaccine passports as discriminatory and dangerous. Savanta explored the impact COVID-19 passports have on UK business confidence across a range of sectors.
Back in early November 2020 when Pfizer announced the COVID-19 vaccine they were developing was found to be 90% effective, global stock markets enjoyed a sizeable boost. COVID-19 vaccine passports on the other hand, have enjoyed a lukewarm reception. While many can see the benefits, particularly for international travel, others are nervous for what they might mean ethically, and the impact they could have on everyday lives.
As part of our UK Business Tracker, Savanta asked businesses what they thought about the potential use of vaccine passports.
Overall, 59% of businesses said they would support the introduction of a vaccine passport in the UK compared to 17% who would not. Medium and large businesses (66%) are more likely to support their introduction compared to small businesses (57%). Those in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation industry are significantly less likely to agree that their business would support the introduction of vaccine passports in the UK (39%) compared to the other sectors surveyed.
In terms of the use of a vaccine passport for travel there is greater overall agreement that vaccine passports would be effective in enabling the international travel and tourism sector to reopen (64%). Retail and Public services are more likely to agree with this statement (both 69%) whereas the Arts sector disagreed the most with the statement (28% compared to 17% total average). Unsurprisingly, businesses with international operations were more likely to agree with this statement (66%) compared to those who solely operate nationally (59%).
When it comes to domestic travel almost two thirds (65%) of UK businesses agree that vaccine passports would be effective in enabling the UK travel and tourism sector to reopen. Looking at the geographic picture for this statement, those in Scotland most strongly agreed with this statement (71%), in contrast with businesses based in Wales, Yorkshire and the North East (52%, 60% and 62% respectively). Businesses in Wales had the highest proportion of those who said they neither agree nor disagree with the statement (30% compared to the 15% total average)
3 in 5 businesses agree that vaccine passports would be effective in enabling UK hospitality businesses, such as pubs, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, to reopen. Two thirds of businesses in the Public service (66%) and Retail sectors (65%) agree with this statement. In contrast, less than half of businesses in the Arts sector (48%) agreed that vaccine passports would be effective in enabling UK hospitality businesses to reopen. Businesses based in Yorkshire had the highest disagreement with the statement (30%) compared to 18% total average and again a significant percentage of businesses in Wales abstained from saying they either agreed or disagreed with the statement (30% compared to 18% total average).
The results suggest that UK businesses are split when it comes to the COVID-status certificate scheme. Certain sectors appear to be more in favour, such as Public service and Retail, than others such as the Arts sector. UK businesses are also split in terms of geography with those based in Yorkshire and Wales least likely to agree that COVID-19 passports would be effective in enabling business sectors to reopen.
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