Almost a third of businesses in the North are at high risk of collapse due to Covid-19 impacting on their supply chain, according to a recent report from Durham University’s Business School.

A report, entitled ‘Covid-19 and Supply Chains in the United Kingdom: Impact and Mitigation’, reviewed over 1.7 million businesses in the North of England and the Midlands, spread across 99 different sectors, and found that 29 per cent of firms could go under.

The report also showed that around 35 per cent of the firms are either at low or medium risk due to the potential impact of Covid-19.

Prof. Kiran Fernandes and doctors Atanu Chaudhuri and Manish Shukla co-authored the report alongside other professors from the business school’s centre for technology and innovation management .

Prof. Fernandes, professor of operations management at Durham University Business School , said: “Most companies in our region had never experienced such an external shock and, therefore, were not prepared with mitigation strategies for their complex global supply chains.

“Analysing a large number of companies using a big data approach has allowed us to better understand supply chain configurations and more importantly allowed us to identify and suggest mitigation strategies that can be adopted by supply chains across all a large number of sectors.”

The researchers analysed data of over 1.7 million companies in 28 different regions across the Midlands and North of England to calculate the potential impact of Covid-19 on the supply chains.

They found the industries at the highest risk included, real estate, food and beverage, personal services and the construction sector.

Companies less likely to be affected by the pandemic included computer programming companies, management consulting, architectural and parts of the retail food sector such as production and distribution of baked produce.