On 26th June, the SME Health Check Index was launched. It is a measurement of the general business health in the UK and will now be published every quarter. This first index has revealed a few bumps in the road to success, but according to one expert, there is no reason why these cannot be overcome with the right support.
Small companies have taken several hits in recent years. First there was the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016, then pensions became compulsory for all employees. Add to that economic uncertainty and Brexit, and suddenly we can begin to see mounting pressure on SMEs; it’s no wonder that the health check is picking up a few ailments.
According to CYBG, who compiled the research for the index in association with the Centre for Economics and Business Research Limited, the health of UK SMEs is at an all time low for the first time in three years. These findings have come from a measure of business performance and the macroeconomic environment affecting SMEs including bankruptcies, business costs, employment, lending and so on.
Business confidence has actually grown considerably in recent months, but in a post-Brexit world, the landscape is unpredictable as currency becomes unstable and trading with the rest of the world becomes more expensive.
The report makes clear that SMEs are facing challenges, but this means that there will be a need for more support in the sector. David Duffy, CEO at CYBG, emphasised the importance of monitoring SMEs as the “engine room” of the British economy.
The health check provides a range of indicators on SMEs and could provide a number of solutions to issues as they arise. Providing insight is also a better tool in helping understand how SMEs can be better supported. With SMEs accounting for over 99% of all UK businesses, their presence and contribution to the economy needs to be protected.
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