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Over 600,000 small businesses at risk of collapse as Simply Business calls for action to help SMEs thrive

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Simply Business

Simply Business

2 March 2020

Over 600,000 small businesses at risk of collapse as Simply Business calls for action to help SMEs thrive

  • Analysis by Simply Business of official government figures over the past five years reveals the average annual rate of UK small business closures stands at 10.8%
  • With an estimated 5.82 million active SMEs (0-249 employees) in the UK in 2019, the figures mean up to 632,889 SMEs could collapse in 2020, or over 1,700 every day
  • A total of 508,865 companies went under in 2018-19 – the highest amount since 2009. This follows data which highlights that small business confidence is at an eight-year low.
  • Simply Business launches £10,000 grant to encourage people to Take The Leap and start or grow their business this leap year, while also releasing a series of guides to help SMEs thrive
  • Simply Business UK CEO, Alan Thomas, calls on the new Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to use his first budget to create the conditions for more small businesses to start and thrive in 2020

Over 600,000 SMEs (0-249 employees) could be at risk of collapse in 2020, new research by small business insurance provider Simply Business reveals.

Analysis of official government figures from the past five years from 2014-2018 reveals the average annual rate of business closures is 10.8% while a total of 508,865 companies were dissolved on Companies House in 2018-19.

This is the most amount of closures since 2009-10 which could have been because of the recession. With an average 10.8% overall business closure rate, 632,889 SMEs could potentially be at risk of collapse this year.

There were an estimated 5.82 million SMEs (0-249 employees) in the UK in 2019, turning over £2.2 trillion and accounting for over 99% of the total business population, so the collapse of small businesses could be a huge blow to the UK economy.

The study by Simply Business follows recent figures by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) showing small business confidence is at an eight-year low, with profitability and export expectations tumbling to a five-year low. This paints a bleak picture for the SME community, particularly for those thinking of starting their own business.

Roughly 80% of UK companies fail within their first year, and according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, only 42.4% of businesses started in 2013 were still trading five years later in 2018.

In light of these figures, and to help support and enable more small businesses to get off the ground this leap year, Simply Business is launching a £10,000 grant for someone to use to take the leap in kick-starting their business.

The insurance provider will also be releasing a series of free guides to help people navigate the wider challenges of starting or growing a business – all designed to enable more UK SME’s to thrive.

Simply Business UK CEO, Alan Thomas, is calling on the new Chancellor, Rishki Sunak, to use his first budget to make it easier for small businesses to start and thrive in 2020.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO of Simply Business, commented: “Small businesses provide vital services and jobs in our communities. They are the heartbeat of our economy, contributing an enormous £2 trillion annually. Evidence that over half a million small businesses might close this year should cause alarm. Loss on this scale would represent a substantial blow to the UK financially, as well as to community life up and down the country.

“We’re calling on the new Chancellor to use his first budget to enable more start ups and help small businesses thrive. The financial benefit to our economy that SMEs provide should not be taken for granted.

“It’s clear the UK needs more SMEs, not less. That’s why we’re launching a £10,000 business grant to help small businesses make the leap, and overcome the common barriers of finance, knowledge and fear.

“Leap Years provide an extra day to shun the norm – an extra day to break the mould where normal traditions don’t apply. But we don’t believe this should be kept to one day – let’s make 2020 the year to make the leap, turn dreams into livelihoods with more successful small businesses in the UK than ever before. We’re here to enable big dreams, and no dream is too big or small.”

To apply for the £10,000 cash grant, please visit www.simplybusiness.co.uk/take-the-leap

Applications close 31 July 2020. Winner announced w/c 15 September 2020.

-Ends-

For further information, please contact:

Frank PR

+44 20 7693 7433

[email protected]

Methodology:

Business death rates Source: Gov, Business Population Estimates for the UK and regions

‘Business deaths’ is calculated by the government using the number of deaths as a proportion of the number of active businesses.

YearNumber of business deaths (excluding sole proprietors)Rate of business deaths (%)
2014246,0009.7%
2015282,00010.4%
2016281,0009.9%
2017362,00012.4%
2018336,00011.4%

Average rate from 2014-2018: 10.8

Number of SMEs (0-249 employees) in the UK 5,860,085 Source: Gov, Business Population Estimates for the UK and regions

Number of SMEs potentially at risk of collapsing 10.8% of 5,860,085 = 632,889

The governmental business death rates do not include sole proprietors (businesses with no employees other than the owner/director), so the actual figure for business deaths could be much higher. For example in 2018-19 a total of 508,865 companies were dissolved – the most since 2009-2010 which would have been because of the recession, but only 336,000 business deaths recorded by the government. With an average 10.8% overall business death rate, the figures mean that 632,889 SMEs could potentially be at risk of collapse.

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 600,000 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 600 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.

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© Copyright 2020 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.