As the impact of Britain’s big freeze becomes clear, the research shows that seven in ten (70%) small and medium sized firms have been affected by the freezing conditions that have wreaked havoc across many parts of Britain. Four in ten (39%) have been directly affected with their premises being closed or cut off. Slightly more (42%) have suffered indirectly with disrupted supply channels or obstructed delivery routes. Less than a quarter (23%) of SMEs have been lucky enough to emerge unaffected. A very small number (7%) have been fortunate enough to take advantage of the conditions and have actually prospered during the Winter months.
Businesses in Wales suffered the most direct impact (59%) alongside firms in the North West (48%). Companies in the Midlands appear to have fared better than anywhere else with a third (33%) in the East Midlands experiencing a direct impact and around the same number (30%) directly impacted in the West Midlands.
The disruption caused by the harsh winter conditions has had a direct financial impact on the bottom line for nearly six in ten (56%) SMEs. More than a third (36%) claim to have taken a hit of up to £10,000. One in eight (13%) estimates the cost to have been somewhere between £10,000 and £30,000. And, one in twelve (7%) believes the cost could be more than £30,000. A small number (4%) believe that the cost to their business could be more than £50,000.
Commenting, Stephen Pegge, head of external affairs for Lloyds TSB Commercial said: “Businesses have faced a double blow over the past few months. They have had to grapple with the downturn in trade as a result of the recession, as well as the impact of the severe weather conditions. The combined impact of both the recession and Winter will inevitably have caused cashflow problems for many businesses.”