UK economy set for ‘heatwave downturn’ after hot weather and World Cup

The World Cup and Wimbledon are proving a distraction for the nation's workers. Picture: Getty Images
The World Cup and Wimbledon are proving a distraction for the nation's workers. Picture: Getty Images
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With the longest hot spell in decades, Wimbledon in full swing and the World Cup reaching its quarter-final stage, the economy could be set for a “heatwave downturn”.

Many businesses are expecting a rise in employees taking “sickies” and others are seeing an increase in workers turning up late or suddenly rescheduling appointments to get home in time for kick-off.

An England football game is the single biggest factor affecting absenteeism and lateness across the widest number and spread of countries

Alastair Brown

Sick days are expected to cost the UK economy £139 million the day after a major football game.

The nation will also lose an additional £313m through just one hour’s lost work because of lateness or general slowness.

Alastair Brown, spokesman for BrightHR, which monitors absenteeism at 56,000 workplaces, said major football games were the trigger for empty desks the next morning.

He said: “An England football game is the single biggest factor affecting absenteeism and lateness across the widest number and spread of industries.”

However Stuart Mackinnon, external affairs manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, said the majority of Scots were more likely to “keep calm and carry on” despite all the attractions of premier sporting events and sunshine on offer.

“Very rarely do we get complaints from our members about staff just not turning up because of big sporting events,” Mr Mackinnon said.

“While some businesses might be struck by staff shortages this could be due to the school holidays or people choosing to take time off. “

Mr Mackinnon added that the unusually hot weather could provide an unexpected boost for some traders. He said: “People will be feeling the heat and going to the ice cream parlours or buying cool drinks and beer which means busier spells for some businesses.”

A “winners and losers” league table of businesses 
during hot summers shows some businesses benefiting while the wider economy loses out.

Major food retailers selling items such as barbecue food, beer, salads, strawberries and sun cream enjoy a bonanza while energy companies note a surge in electricity use with customers using air-conditioning.

Losers tend to be rail companies who are often forced to cancel services as rails buckle in the heat. Some leisure businesses such as cinemas and gyms report a drop in customer numbers as people prefer to spend time outside having a glass of wine with friends.

With England the only home nation to qualify for the tournament in Russia, some Scottish fans may have been cheering on the “Magnificent Seven” of “honorary Scots” who honed their skills at Scottish clubs before being selected to play for their countries in the World Cup.

These are the Celtic quartet of Tom Rogic, (Australia) Mikael Lustig, (Sweden) Dedryck Boyata (Belgium) and Cristian Gamboa (Costa Rica); Rangers duo Bruno Alves (Portugal) and Kari Arnason (Iceland) and Jamie Mclaren from Hibs (Australia).