With costs from the Christmas storms rising constantly, the Small Business Minister has committed to getting affected businesses back on their feet.
Funds for the flooded
It’s estimated that close to 2,500 firms faced flooding after Storms Desmond, Frank and Eva, with businesses in Lancashire and Cumbria baring the brunt of the bad weather. Although the areas are no strangers to flooding, the recent storms brought unprecedented damage - some estimates suggesting that the total repair costs could go well into the billions.
In response, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has offered businesses around £11 million in government funding, designed to offer ‘quick support’ to those businesses affected. Speaking on the pledge, Anna Soubry, Small Business Minister, said:
“It’s been a devastating Christmas for many business owners in the north of England who now face the challenge of repairing the damage and reopening their doors.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of towns and cities right across the country and it is vital that we help them start trading again as soon as possible.”
Businesses have been told to contact their local growth hub for more information on how to access the funding, and can find their contact details via the Local Enterprise Partnership website here.
But is it enough financial support?
A recent estimate from accountants KPMG suggested that the total cost of repairs could sit at between £5-£5.8bn, with affected businesses set to lose £100m in lost sales alone.
Fortunately, their estimates also suggest that insurers will be footing the bill for around £1.5bn worth of claims. However, underinsurance is expected to hit both homes and businesses hard, with insufficient coverage forcing them to foot an extra £1bn in repair costs.
As such, it’s debatable whether the government’s cash pot can really improve things.
Businesses backing businesses
Thankfully though, a number of big businesses have pledged their support for the flood victims. Lloyds has pledged to offer £250m in fee free lending to all of those affected, whilst EDF has promised to ‘vary normal payment terms’ to ease the financial pressure.
Elsewhere, Vodafone is offering 1000 free dongles to assist businesses lacking internet access, and Toshiba will donate a number of laptops to those in flood-hit areas. If you’re one of those affected you can find more details of all these initiatives here.
Have you been affected by the winter storms? Do you think the government package is big enough? Let us know in the comments section below, and check out our recent article if you need to make a claim.