The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)

Covid-19 pan­demic hits SMEs the worst

- BY KEITH FIND­LAY Business · Small Business · Infectious Diseases · Health Conditions · London · Scotland · England · United Kingdom · Simply Business

Small and medium-sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) in Lon­don, Scot­land and north-east Eng­land are the worst af­fected by Covid-19, ac­cord­ing to new re­search by small busi­ness in­surer Sim­ply Busi­ness.

Its SME Con­fi­dence Re­port sums up re­sponses from 3,700 SME own­ers through­out the UK in an at­tempt to mea­sure the im­pact of coro­n­avirus on small busi­nesses.

Sim­ply Busi­ness found that in Lon­don the pan­demic will cost SMEs £17,074 each on av­er­age in lost work, earn­ings and loan re­pay­ments.

In Scot­land – whose pri­vate sec­tor recorded one of the deep­est

“It’s es­sen­tial for econ­omy that small busi­nesses bounce back”

slumps in busi­ness ac­tiv­ity in the UK last month – SMEs are fac­ing an av­er­age cost of £15,484 from the coro­n­avirus, the study found.

SMEs in north-east Eng­land are fac­ing the third high­est av­er­age cost of £15,040 each, the re­port said.

At the other end of the scale, SMEs in south-west Eng­land are typ­i­cally fac­ing a cost of £10,989.60.

Across the whole of the UK, the to­tal cost of coro­n­avirus to SMEs will ex­ceed £69 bil­lion, av­er­ag­ing £11,779 per firm, the re­port said.

An es­ti­mated 234,000 UK SMEs have shut for good, due to the cornoaviru­s, while two thirds (67%) have tem­po­rar­ily ceased trad­ing.

Sim­ply Busi­ness UK chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Thomas said: “Covid-19 has had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on SMEs and small busi­ness own­ers up and down the coun­try, with many be­ing forced to sadly close. It’s es­sen­tial for our econ­omy that small busi­ness bounces back.”

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