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SMEs in East Anglia, London and the North West take biggest hit from coronavirus

3-minute read

Simply Business

Simply Business

14 June 2021

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SMEs in East Anglia, London and the North West take biggest hit from coronavirus

  • Across the UK, East Anglian SMEs feel the worst financial impact due to Covid-19, losing £25,035 each so far on average and expecting losses to almost double to £44,703
  • London SMEs have lost £23,667 so far each in lost earnings, and expect losses to reach £38,127 each on average.
  • The North West is the UK’s third most affected region, losing £21,982 each on average and expecting losses to amount to £23,766 each on average
  • With the exception of London, the study found that SMEs in the North have been hit harder financially than small businesses in the South.
  • Across the UK the cost of Covid-19 to UK SMEs is set to exceed £126.6bn – nearly double the £69bn initially projected a year ago.

East Anglian, London and North West SMEs will be the worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to new research by small business insurer Simply Business.

The study by Simply Business spoke to over 1,200 SMEs across the UK to measure the impact of coronavirus on small businesses. The report found that SMEs in East Anglia, London and The North West have been the most affected by the pandemic.

East Anglian SMEs have felt the greatest financial impact across the UK, with an average loss of £25,035 each so far and expecting total losses to almost double to a staggering £44,703. Following closely behind, SMEs in London have lost an average of £23,667 so far, with a total loss of £38,127 projected each. North West SMEs have suffered a total loss of £39,350 each on average so far.

Some regions have been hit harder than others. Nationally, SMEs have lost £19,205 each on average so far due to the pandemic, and expect total losses to reach £26,852, each. Some regions have experienced a financial impact greater than the UK average, whether due to difficulty in accessing government support or through tighter regional lockdowns and restrictions at different stages throughout the pandemic.

Financial hit by region:

RegionCovid cost so farEstimated total cost of Covid
East Anglia£25,035£44,703
North West England£21,766£23,766
North East England£17,368£22,920
The Midlands£16,353£22,577
South East England£15,671£22,577
South West England£14,953£16,472

A North-South SME divide?

The study found the Covid 19 pandemic has emphasised the North-South divide. With the exception of London where offices emptied and many people stayed local to their hometowns, SMEs in the north appear to have been particularly hard hit.

Northern regions are in the top worst affected areas and overall, SMEs in the north have lost an average of £39,350 each in lost earnings. This compares to southern regions losing an average of £30,624 each in lost earnings over the past 12 months.

Despite clear challenges, SME optimism does exist

SMEs contribute £2 trillion annually to the UK economy and account for 99% of all UK businesses. So despite the staggering financial impact due to Covid-19, it's reassuring to see signs of optimism and resilience among SMEs.

Almost a fifth (22%) of SMEs surveyed in all regions say they're optimistic about life after the pandemic, with one in ten (10%) stating they're confident enough to start a new business.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, commented: “The pandemic has had a significant impact on all businesses, regardless of size – but few have been hit harder than small businesses and the self-employed.

“The scale of the impact is abundantly clear, with Covid-19 set to cost SMEs £126.6 billion in total. The effect of Covid-19 varies across regions with some being hit even harder than others. This is a huge blow to the economy at large, but will have an even greater impact on the people behind these firms – small business owners, all of which have families, livelihoods, and dreams to protect.

“At Simply Business, we’re encouraged to see losses in some regions begin to stabilize. SMEs themselves remain brilliantly resilient about life after Covid-19. As the economy continues to re-open, it’s vital we pay attention to, and support small businesses as much as we can. Shopping local, visiting your local bakers or hairdressers, and ordering online from small businesses, will go a long way in helping them survive and thrive into the future.”

You can read the full Simply Business report looking at the impact of coronavirus on small businesses in the UK here.


Data: Survey of 1,206 small business owners from across the UK, conducted March 2021

Previous survey from last year: Survey of 3,734 small business owners from across the UK, conducted May 2020

How did we calculate the £126.6 billion figure?
March 2021: 94% of SMEs surveyed say Covid-19 has/will affect them financially We asked small businesses how much they estimate the coronavirus pandemic will cost them in total, including lost earnings, jobs and revenue. The weighted average of this cost is £22,461 How did we calculate the £69 billion figure? May 2020: 100% of small business owners surveyed reported being affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

We asked small businesses how much they estimate the coronavirus pandemic will cost them in total, including lost earnings, jobs and revenue. The weighted average of this cost is £22,461. £11,779 multiplied by the number of SMEs in the UK = £134,766,000,000

For further information, please contact:

Frank PR
[email protected]

About Simply Business

Simply Business is one of the UK’s biggest business insurance providers, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and insuring over 900,000 small businesses and landlords across Britain.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service, delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. Using the power of tech and data to create the best possible customer experiences, Simply Business employs over 800 people across offices in London, Northampton, and Boston in the US.

Owing to its internal underwriting capability, Simply Business can cover over 1,000 trade types – ranging from plumbers to accountants to dog walkers. An accredited B Corp for their positive social impact, Simply Business has also been voted the Sunday Times Best Company To Work For twice in a row.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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