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Where have small businesses been hardest hit by the pandemic?

3-minute read

Conor Shilling

23 June 2021

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New research from Simply Business reveals small businesses in East Anglia, London, and the North West have seen the biggest financial losses due to the pandemic.

Covid-19 has cost business owners in East Anglia an average of £25,035 so far, while those in London have taken a typical hit of £23,667, and small businesses in the North West have lost an average of £21,982.

Our survey of over 1,200 small business owners from across the UK found the average cost of the pandemic ranges from over £25,000 in East Anglia, to £14,953 in South West England.

The typical total estimated cost of Covid-19 peaks at £44,703 in East Anglia, while business owners in Wales anticipate the smallest total financial hit at an average of £16,520.

Download the Covid-19 report for the full picture

This article gives an overview of our regional data, but you can find out more about the overall impact of the pandemic on small businesses by downloading the full report.

Get your free 2021 report on the impact of coronavirus

Download your free in-depth report. Find out more about the cost of coronavirus and overall business confidence.

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What’s the financial impact of the pandemic across the UK?

Our national UK data – including the central South of England, as well as Northern Ireland – shows that small businesses have lost £15,673 on average and expect total losses to reach £22,461.

Graphic showing average cost of pandemic for small businesses

But out of the regions listed below, the average small business has lost £19,205 as a result of the pandemic and expects total losses to reach £26,852.

As you can see from the table below, the financial impact of Covid-19 varies from region to region.

This could be down to having difficulty accessing government support, experiencing tighter local restrictions, or being an area which relies heavily on a badly hit business sector such as hospitality.

RegionCovid-19 cost so farEstimated total cost of Covid-19
East Anglia£25,035£44,703
North West£21,982£23,766
North East£17,368£22,920
The Midlands£16,353£23,547
South East£15,671£22,577
South West£14,953£16,472

Does London face high costs because of empty offices?

The difference in costs between London and the neighbouring South East is large, with London's small business owners facing higher than average pandemic costs. This could be due to offices being empty and people staying local to their home towns.

Map of the regional cost of Covid for small businesses

Despite the financial challenges caused by the pandemic, many small business owners remain optimistic about the future. Almost a fifth (22 per cent) of all survey participants across the UK say they're optimistic about life after the pandemic, with ten per cent stating they’d be confident enough to start a new business.

The highs and lows of launching a small business during a pandemic

Managing a year of lockdowns and government restrictions has been challenging for small business owners. We recently spoke to Gary Rourke, who launched Rourke’s pie shop in Birmingham last summer.

In the three-minute video below, Gary tells his inspiring story of starting a small business during unprecedented times.

"It’s vital we support small businesses as much as we can"

Our UK CEO, Alan Thomas, says the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge financial impact on 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 stabilise. 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."

How has your small business been affected by the pandemic? Tell us your story in the comments below.

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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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