More than 17,500 East Midlands small businesses set to fold without further help

A record number of small business owners in Nottinghamshire and beyond are planning to close their firms over the coming 12 months without further help, a survey revealed.

By Lucy Roberts
Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 4:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 4:08 pm
Small businesses have faced extremely difficult trading conditions due to the impact of Covid-19.
Small businesses have faced extremely difficult trading conditions due to the impact of Covid-19.

According to the latest Small Business Index (SBI) survey, just under five per cent of the 1,400 firms who responded said they expect to close this year.

In the East Midlands, this means that at least 17,500 businesses could end up folding over the next 12 months.

And the figure does not reflect the threat of closure faced by those hoping to survive despite having frozen their operations, reduced headcounts or taken on significant debt.

The proportion is at an all-time high for the SBI, which launched in the wake of the previous financial crash, and is more than double that recorded at the same point 12 months ago.

Close to a quarter (23 per cent) of small firms have decreased the number of people they employ over the last quarter, up from 13 per cent at the beginning of last year.

One in seven say they’ll be forced to cut numbers over the next three months.

FSB East Midlands policy chairman Clare Elsby said: “We need to adequately support businesses who are feeling the big pinch, particularly those in the East Midlands who missed out on a fair proportion of local discretionary grants and who have seen a massive footfall reduction in the run up to the Golden Quarter and those who rely on a thriving night time economy.

"The fear of at least 17,500 East Midlands businesses folding, based on this fresh FSB data, is extremely worrying.

“Company directors, the newly self-employed, those in supply chains, and those without commercial premises are still being left out in the cold."

FSB regional chairman Les Phillimore said: “The development of business support measures has not kept pace with intensifying restrictions.

"As a result, we risk losing tens of thousands of great, ultimately viable small businesses this year, at huge cost to local communities and individual livelihoods.

“This Government can stem losses and protect the businesses of the future, but only if it acts now.”