Yesterday, the Government’s 100% business rate relief reduced to 66%, yet new polling indicates that almost half (46%) of UK small business owners say they can’t afford to contribute anything towards business rates after this period.
Just 4 in 10 (39%) SMEs have experienced any increase in their revenues since the easing of some lockdown restrictions in mid-May. In fact, nearly one in five (18%) SMEs have actually seen a drop in their revenues since that time according to the research, which was commissioned by Metro Bank and conducted by Research Without Barriers.
Nearly a third of SMEs (32%) in total have benefited from the business rate holiday, equivalent to nearly two million small businesses across the UK.
The polling also reveals that of those SMEs which benefited, seven in 10 (71%) said that it allowed them to keep their businesses running.
Nonetheless, the polling unearths some encouraging green shoots of recovery. One in eight (12%) of the SMEs surveyed were started after March 2020, with the main drivers of this being spotting an opportunity and having more free time. This increase was predominately seen in small businesses that specialised in healthcare, manufacturing and utilities.
Jo MacDonald, Director of Bank Accounts at Metro Bank, commented:
“This latest polling shows us that a significant number of our country’s small businesses are still struggling from the effects of the pandemic. Many of them require patient and tailored financial support in order to keep trading in the current environment.”
“We should never underestimate the value of human relationships in banking. People value other people, and as businesses in the UK recover after what’s been a really tough period, that’s arguably more important now than ever before.”