More than half (56 per cent) of the UK’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) had to take out a loan during the pandemic, either to pay for their overheads or to pay wages.
Furthermore, 68 per cent of SMEs have had their cash flow negatively impacted by the pandemic, with 23 per cent saying that they have been hit “very negatively”.
According to a new survey from fintech SME lender CapitalBox, 42 per cent of SMEs feel that the government has provided “sufficient” support. 55 per cent of SMEs applied for the government furlough scheme, while 36 per cent received tax relief and 43 per cent leant on government loans.
Across Europe, the hospitality and leisure sector has been particularly affected, with 34 per cent of SMEs in this space saying that they have been “very negatively” impacted since the start of Covid-19.
“I am pleased to see that the majority of small and medium businesses across Europe feel that they have been sufficiently supported by their governments during one of the hardest times we have had to face,” said Scott Donnelly, chief executive of CapitalBox.
“We have seen an exponential rise in household saving during the pandemic due to closures of pubs, restaurants and shops which has in turn had a huge impact on small businesses that need our help to survive. They need the consistency of income and footfall.
“However, what I love about small businesses is that they truly thrive in times of disruption and crisis. They have the ability to be flexible, the power to adjust their way of working to meet the needs of consumers. Governments must make sure though that they have access to immediate cash to avoid a gap that could damage their business – whether that is through loan schemes or working with alternative lenders outside of the retail space, is essential.
“SMEs are confident in the year to come, and so am I.”