- In the week ending 4 July 2021, the seven-day average number of daily flights increased by 8% compared with the previous week to 2,126 flights; this is around one-third of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019 (EUROCONTROL). See Section 3.
- In May 2021, an equal number of firms reported increasing turnover as those reporting decreasing turnover in the last month; this was driven by marginal increases in turnover in services, production and agriculture and decreasing turnover in construction (HM Revenue and Customs VAT returns). See Section 4.
- The proportion of all UK businesses (excluding those permanently ceased trading) who reported that they do not expect to make redundancies in the next three months was 80% in mid to late June 2021; this has gradually increased from 73% in Wave 21 (14 to 27 December 2020) (Initial results from Wave 34 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS)). See Section 5.
- On 2 July 2021, the total volume of UK online job adverts had increased by 4% on the previous week (25 June 2021) and was 135% of its February 2020 average level (Adzuna). See Section 6.
- In the week to 1 July 2021, the aggregate CHAPS-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases increased by 3 percentage points from the previous week, to 96% of its February 2020 average (Bank of England CHAPS data). See Section 7.
- In the week to 5 July 2021, the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners fell by 5 percentage points compared with the previous week, to 119% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019 (OpenTable). See Section 8.
- In the week to 3 July 2021, overall retail footfall in the UK was at 72% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019; footfall at retail parks continued to be much higher than at shopping centres and high streets relative to their 2019 levels (Springboard). See Section 9.
- The proportion of working adults in Great Britain who in the past seven days travelled to work (either exclusively or in combination with working from home) decreased by 3 percentage points from the previous week to 60% (Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) 30 June to 4 July 2021). See Section 10.
- The volume of motor vehicle traffic on Monday 5 July 2021 was at 97% of the level seen in the first week of February 2020, broadly unchanged from a week ago (Department for Transport (DfT)). See Section 11.
- There were 13,221 company incorporations in the week to 2 July 2021, a 1% decrease from the previous week (13,380), but 2% higher than the equivalent week in 2019 (12,970) (Companies House). See the accompanying dataset.
- There were 6,359 voluntary dissolution applications in the week to 2 July 2021, a 9% increase from the previous week (5,830); this is also 33% and 37% higher than levels seen in the equivalent week of 2020 (4,775) and 2019 (4,654), respectively (Companies House). See the accompanying dataset.
- For the indicator ‘Proportion of workforce working at their normal pre-pandemic place of work’, the response to this question was changed from “Working at their normal place of work" to "Mainly working at the same place they were working before the pandemic" from Wave 33 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).
In this bulletin we are introducing daily flight data from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). These data will be published weekly from this release (8 July 2021) onwards.
Daily flight numbers for the UK alongside other countries are available in EUROCONTROL’s dashboard. EUROCONTROL is a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation. Its Aviation Intelligence and Performance Review Unit provides independent collection and validation of air navigation services performance-related data and intelligence gathering.
These flights data include international arrivals and departures to and from the UK (including Crown Dependencies) and domestic UK flights, but exclude overflights (flights that pass over UK territory). They capture all flight movements that operate under Instrumental Flight Rules (IFR), where the pilot uses instruments in the flight deck to control, guide and adjust the plane. This includes commercial flights carrying passengers and cargo as well as non-commercial flights such as private and military flights.
Data from EUROCONTROL does not include information on the volume of passengers or cargo carried on UK flights. Especially in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, flights might not be operating at full capacity and therefore trends in passengers and cargo will differ from trends in flights presented here.
In 2019, the total number of flights from, to and within the UK ranged from approximately 5,000 per day in quieter months to over 6,500 per day in peak holiday season. After the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all non-essential international travel (17 March 2020) and the UK first went into lockdown (23 March 2020), the number of flights fell to a low of around 500 per day at the start of April 2020, approximately 10% of what they were in the equivalent period of 2019.
During July and August 2020, as travel corridors were introduced and the UK opened back up, flights steadily increased to nearly 3,000 per day (around 40% of the 2019 level), before falling again in line with the normal seasonal pattern. There was a notable increase in flights in the week before Christmas 2020 ahead of the usual Christmas Day decrease.
In early 2021, flights remained steady at around 1,000 per day (around 20% of their equivalent 2019 levels). From mid-May 2021 and as the green list of countries was introduced (17 May 2021), flights have gradually increased.
In the week to 30 May 2021, the seven-day average number of daily flights was at its highest since the week ending 20 December 2020, at 1,704. This coincided with the UEFA Champions league final in Portugal on 29 May 2021. In the following week, there was a further high of 1,920 daily flights on average, just ahead of the change in the “traffic-light” status of international travel on 8 June 2021, which saw Portugal removed from the green list.
In the week ending 4 July 2021, the seven-day average number of daily flights was 2,126. This is an increase of 8% on the previous week, which was at 1,970. This is more than twice as high as the corresponding figure for the equivalent week in 2020, but still only around a third of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019.
The full data time series available for UK flights can be found in the accompanying dataset, which contains daily flight numbers and the rolling seven-day averages.Back to table of contents
The new reporters index measures the number of UK firms sending Value Added Tax (VAT) returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the first time, which is related to the number of firm creations.
There were 18,520 new VAT reporters in the UK in June 2021, a decrease of 23% from 24,020 in May 2021. However, this is higher than the number seen in June 2020 (13,950) and June 2019 (17,700). This is the highest number of new VAT reporters recorded in the month of June since 2016, but is lower than the 2015 to 2019 longer-term average (20,908).
The figures explained in this section refer to non-seasonally adjusted data.
Business turnover estimates
Turnover diffusion indices are an aggregate measure used to track whether most firms are reporting an increase or decrease in turnover in their VAT returns. They are calculated as the percentage of firms with increasing turnover minus the percentage with decreasing turnover.
The heatmap in Figure 3 is a visual way of showing the VAT diffusion indices based on the standard deviation from their historical 2008 to 2019 average. Larger deviations are more darkly coloured, with red representing a negative change, while teal represents a positive change when compared with the previous period.
Figure 3: In May 2021, an equal number of firms reported increasing turnover as those reporting decreasing turnover in the last month
Heatmap of business turnover estimates, UK, diffusion index standard deviation from the mean, up to May 2021. New reporters, UK, up to June 2021
Source: Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Agri - Agriculture, forestry and fishing, All - All industries, SA - Seasonally adjusted.
- More information is available in the methodology article.
The month-on-month, all-industry turnover estimate for May 2021 shows that, out of 38,510 firms, an equal number of firms (net 0%) reported increasing turnover as those that reported decreasing turnover in the last month. This followed a period of three months where more firms reported increasing turnover than decreasing turnover.
A net 1% of firms in production, agriculture and services reported increasing turnover compared with April 2021, whereas a net 4% of firms in construction reported decreasing turnover over the same period.
The figures explained in this section refer to seasonally adjusted data.Back to table of contents
Initial results from Wave 34 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) cover the reference period 14 to 27 June 2021, with a response rate of 19.8% (7,648 responses). The survey was live for the period 28 June to 6 July 2021.
Figure 4: In mid to late June, 80% of all UK businesses (excluding those that have permanently ceased trading) reported that they do not expect redundancies in the next 3 months, a gradual increase from 73% in Wave 21 (14 to 27 December 2020)
Headline indicators from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS), 14 June to 6 July 2021
- Initial weighted results, Wave 34 of Office for National Statistics' (ONS') Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).
- A detailed description of the weighting methodology and the weights used for each variable is available in Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).
Currently trading UK businesses reported that 12% of their workforce have moved from furlough or fully homeworking to a hybrid model of working in the last two weeks (at the point at which they responded).
Across all UK industries in Wave 34:
- 88% of businesses had been trading for more than the last two weeks
- 1% of businesses had started trading within the last two weeks after a pause in trading
- 2% of businesses had paused trading but intend to restart in the next two weeks (unchanged from Wave 33)
- 7% of businesses had paused trading and do not intend to restart in the next two weeks (unchanged from Wave 33)
- 3% of businesses had permanently ceased trading (broadly unchanged from Wave 33)
|Turnover has increased by more than 50%||<1%|
|Turnover has increased between 20% and 50%||3%|
|Turnover has increased by up to 20%||9%|
|Turnover has not been affected||46%|
|Turnover has decreased by up to 20%||15%|
|Turnover has decreased between 20% and 50%||10%|
|Turnover has decreased by more than 50%||5%|
Download this table Table 1: 30% of businesses saw a decrease in turnover in mid to late June 2021 compared with what is normally expected at that time of year, unchanged from the previous wave.xls .csv
Job adverts by category
These figures are experimental estimates of online job adverts provided by Adzuna, an online job search engine, by category, by UK country and English region. The number of job adverts over time is an indicator of the demand for labour. The Adzuna categories used do not correspond to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) categories, so these values are not directly comparable with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Vacancy Survey.
Figure 5: On 2 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts had increased by 4% on the previous week and was at 135% of its February 2020 average level
Volume of online job adverts by category, index: 100 = February 2020 average, 4 January 2019 to 2 July 2021, non-seasonally adjusted
- Further category breakdowns are included in the online job advert estimates dataset and more details on the methodology can be found in Using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies.
- Users should note that week-on-week changes in online job advert volumes are outlined as percentages, rather than as percentage point changes. Percentage change figures quoted in the commentary will therefore not necessarily match the percentage point changes observed in the charts and accompanying dataset.
On 2 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts in the UK had increased by 4% when compared with the previous week (25 June 2021). This is the first notable increase in the volume of online job adverts for five weeks, following a period of broadly stable levels since 4 June 2021. Prior to this, volumes had increased consistently across most categories alongside the easing of lockdown restrictions in the UK.
The largest weekly increase was in "wholesale and retail", which rose by 19%. This is the second consecutive week that this category has seen a notable increase. Another noteworthy increase was in "domestic help", which rose by 11% from last week after five weeks of broadly stable levels (since 28 May). The largest week-on-week fall was in "other/general" (which includes adverts that contain generic titles or do not fit into other categories), which fell by 3%.
On 2 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts remained substantially higher than pre-pandemic levels at 135% of its February 2020 average level. Of the 28 categories, only "energy, oil and gas" was below its pre-pandemic level, at 93% of the average volume seen in February 2020.
The "transport/logistics/warehouse" category remains the highest performing category relative to its pre-pandemic levels at 305% of the average volume seen in February 2020; a 154% increase since the beginning of the year (8 January 2021).
Job adverts by region
Figure 6: On 2 July 2021, the volume of online job adverts had increased across all UK countries and regions when compared with the previous week (25 June 2021)
Volume of online job adverts by category, index: 100 = February 2020 average, 7 February 2020 to 2 July 2021, non-seasonally adjusted
On 2 July 2021, the volume of online job adverts had increased across all UK countries and regions when compared with the previous week (25 June 2021), with the largest weekly increases observed in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and London.
On the same day, the volume of online job adverts remained above their February 2020 average levels in all UK countries and English regions. They were strongest, when compared with pre-pandemic levels, in the North East, Northern Ireland and the East Midlands, where online job adverts stood at 179%, 176% and 167% of their February 2020 average levels, respectively. Meanwhile, relative to its February 2020 average level, the volume of online job adverts remained weakest in London, where the corresponding figure was 112% on 2 July 2021. Aside from a single particularly low volume recorded in Northern Ireland on 7 May 2021, London has been the region with the lowest online job adverts relative to its February 2020 average for 48 weeks (since 31 July 2020).Back to table of contents
Daily CHAPS-based indicator
These data series are experimental faster indicators for estimating UK spending on credit and debit cards. They track the daily CHAPS payments made by credit and debit card payment processors to around 100 major UK retail corporates. These payments are the proceeds of recent credit and debit card transactions made by customers at their stores, through both physical and online platforms. The accompanying methodology article provides more information on the indicator.
Companies are allocated to one of four categories based on their primary business. These are:
- "staples", which refers to companies that sell essential goods that households need to purchase, such as food and utilities
- "work-related", which refers to companies providing public transport or selling petrol
- "delayable", which refers to companies selling goods whose purchase could be delayed, such as clothing or furnishings
- "social", which refers to spending on travel and eating out
Figure 7 shows changes in the value of CHAPS payments received by large UK corporates from their credit and debit card processors, "merchant acquirers".
In the week to 1 July 2021, the CHAPS-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases in aggregate increased by 3 percentage points from the previous week to 96% of its February 2020 average level. This was driven by increases in all spending categories; “delayable”, “social” and “work related” by 4 percentage points and “staple” by 1 percentage point. In the latest week, “staple” and “work related” spending were above their February 2020 average levels, at 110% and 112% respectively. Conversely, “delayable” and “social” spending were at 90% and 84% of their February 2020 average levels, respectively.
The full data time series available for data on UK spending on debit and credit cards can be found in the accompanying dataset.Back to table of contents
OpenTable is a provider of data for online restaurant reservations, with daily data for the UK, London and Manchester being publicly available in its The state of the industry dashboard. These data show the impact of recent events and restrictions on the hospitality industry using a sample of restaurants on the OpenTable network across all channels, that is, online reservations, phone reservations, and walk-ins.
According to OpenTable, in the week to 5 July 2021, the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners fell by 5 percentage points compared with the previous week, but remained higher than pre-pandemic levels at 119% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019. In London, during the same week, the seven-day average estimate of seated diners fell slightly by 2 percentage points when compared with the previous the week, to 71% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019. The equivalent figure for Manchester fell by 11 percentage points in the latest week, but its level remained higher than that seen in the equivalent week of 2019 at 115% (similar to the level seen for total UK).
The average estimates of seated diners for the UK, London, and Manchester have continued to fall since reaching a high in the week to 31 May 2021, shortly after customers were permitted to dine indoors in England. For the UK as a whole, the average estimate of seated diners has fallen by 54 percentage points between 31 May and 5 July 2021, whereas it has decreased by 34 and 117 percentage points in London and Manchester, respectively.Back to table of contents
National retail footfall
National footfall figures are supplied by Springboard, a provider of data on customer activity. It measures the following for overall UK retail footfall, as well as by high street, retail park, and shopping centre categories:
- daily retail footfall as a percentage of its level on the same day of the equivalent week of 2019; for example, Saturday 3 July 2021 is compared with Saturday 29 June 2019
- total weekly retail footfall as a percentage of its level in the equivalent week of 2019
- the percentage change in weekly footfall compared with the previous week; for example, Week 26 of 2021 is compared with Week 25 of 2021
- Springboard's weekly data are defined over a seven-day period running from Sunday to Saturday; Week 26 of 2021 therefore refers to the period Sunday 27 June 2021 to Saturday 3 July 2021
According to Springboard, in the week to 3 July 2021, the volume of overall retail footfall and footfall at all retail locations (retail parks, shopping centres and high streets) saw no change when compared with the previous week (week to 26 June 2021).
In the latest week to 3 July 2021, overall retail footfall was at 72% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019. Comparing retail locations, in the same week to 3 July 2021, footfall at retail parks was at 91% of its level equivalent week in 2019, whereas the corresponding figures for shopping centres and high streets were 67% and 65%, respectively.
Regional retail footfall
According to Springboard, in the week to 3 July 2021, retail footfall saw week-on-week percentage increases in two of the ten UK countries and English regions. The largest weekly percentage increase in retail footfall was in Northern Ireland, where it rose by 8%, while Scotland saw a weekly increase of 4%. Wales was the only region to see a decrease, falling by 3%, with the high street category recording a week-on-week fall of 6%. The remaining seven UK countries and English regions remained broadly unchanged in the week to 3 July 2021.
In the same week, retail footfall, when compared with levels seen in the equivalent week of 2019, was strongest in Northern Ireland, the East of England and South West England, at 80%, 76%, and 76%, respectively. In contrast, retail footfall was weakest in the Greater London and the East Midlands; their retail footfall levels in the week to 3 July 2021 were at 70% and 71% of the levels seen in the equivalent week of 2019, respectively.Back to table of contents
According to Department for Transport (DfT) non-seasonally adjusted road traffic data, the volume of all motor vehicle traffic on Monday 5 July 2021 was at 97% of the level seen on Monday of the first week of February 2020. This is broadly unchanged from Monday 28 June 2021, but 13 percentage points higher than 29 March 2021 when the "stay at home" restrictions ended in England.
Compared with the previous week, the volume of road traffic on Monday 5 July 2021 for light commercial vehicles, heavy goods vehicles and cars remained broadly unchanged at 110%, 107% and 93% of their levels in the first week of February 2020, respectively.
Figure 11: The volume of motor vehicle traffic on Monday 5 July 2021 was at 97% of the level seen in the first week of February 2020, broadly unchanged from a week ago
Daily road traffic index: 100 = same traffic as the equivalent day of the week in the first week of February 2020, 1 March 2020 to 5 July 2021, non-seasonally adjusted
- The blue shaded areas refer to periods when restrictions across the UK were in effect. In order, these were: first national lockdown in the UK (23 March 2020) to easing of restrictions with non-essential shops reopening in England (15 June 2020); second lockdown in England (5 November 2020) to lockdown being replaced with three-tier system in England (2 December 2020); third lockdown announced in Scotland and England (4 January 2021) to “stay at home” restrictions ending in England (29 March 2021).
The daily DfT estimates are indexed to the first week of February 2020 and the comparison is with the same day of the week. The data provided are useful as an indication of traffic change rather than actual traffic volumes. More information on the methods, quality and economic analysis for these indicators can be found in the DfT methodology article.Back to table of contents
UK spending on credit and debit cards
Dataset | Released 8 July 2021
Experimental indicator for monitoring UK retail purchases derived from the Bank of England's CHAPS data.
Dataset | Released 17 June 2021
Experimental weekly and daily ship visits dataset covering UK ports.
Traffic camera activity
Dataset | Released 8 July 2021
Experimental daily traffic camera counts data for busyness indices covering the UK.
Online job advert estimates
Dataset | Released 8 July 2021
Experimental job advert indices covering the UK online job market.
Company Incorporations and Voluntary Dissolutions
Dataset | Released 8 July 2021
The number of weekly Companies House Incorporations and Voluntary Dissolution applications accepted.
Business insights and impact on the UK economy
Dataset | Released 1 July 2021
Responses from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).
Daily UK flights
Dataset – Released 8 July 2021
Experimental daily UK flight numbers and rolling seven-day average, including flights to, from, and within the UK
Value Added Tax
Dataset | Released 8 July 2021
Value Added Tax (VAT) turnover and expenditure diffusion indexes and new VAT reporters using data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) VAT returns.
Online weekly price changes
Dataset | Released 1 July 2021
Experimental estimates of online price changes for a selection of food and drink products from several large UK retailers.
A faster indicator provides insight into economic activity using close-to-real-time big data, administrative data sources, rapid response surveys or experimental statistics, which represent useful economic and social concepts.
Incorporations are when a company is added to the Companies House register of limited companies. This can also include where an existing business applies to become a limited company, where it was not one before.
Voluntary dissolution applications
A voluntary dissolution application is when a company applies to begin dissolution proceedings. As such, they effectively chose to be removed from the Companies House register. For a company to be eligible to voluntarily dissolve, it should not have completed any trading activity for a period of three months.
A new reporter is defined as a firm with a Value Added Tax (VAT) reference (that is, firm identification number), which has not previously reported its VAT returns. New reporters are published within one month of the end of the reporting period. The new reporting behaviour measure is classified by the month the data were received by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), known as the receipt date, which is not necessarily the same as the reference period (the period for which the VAT return is made).
The diffusion index tracks the growth in turnover and expenditure of firms. It is constructed to lie between negative 1 and 1. For example, if 65% of firms have increasing turnover, 30% have decreasing turnover and 5% turnover remains unchanged, then the diffusion index is 0.35.Back to table of contents
UK coronavirus restrictions
A full overview of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions for each of the four UK constituent countries can be found here:
These restrictions should be considered when interpreting the data featured throughout this bulletin.Back to table of contents
Information on the strengths and limitations of the indicators in this bulletin is available in the Coronavirus and the latest indicators of the UK economy and society methodology.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 651583