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Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Small firms are struggling despite support schemes

4 May 2021

More than a quarter of UK SMEs say they need additional support from the government to stay afloat.

Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance has polled more than 1,000 senior business decision-makers at UK SMEs across a range of sectors, asking how the support from the government during the pandemic has impacted their business.

A third say their business would not have survived without state support. Even so, over a quarter (27%) of SMEs said they require additional government support in order to stay in business.

Businesses in the East Midlands (39%), Wales (37%) and Scotland (33%) were most in need of additional support, while SMEs in the North East of England required the least. More than half of senior decision-makers in the hospitality sector said they needed more state help in order to survive. Nearly a third of manufacturing businesses (30%) and retailers (29%) said the same.

Those sectors most in need of additional government support are:

  • Hospitality and leisure (54%);
  • Manufacturing (30%);
  • Retail (29%);
  • Marketing (27%);
  • Construction (25%).

The findings also show that 23% of those polled have had to let employees go as a result of the pandemic. Nearly a third of businesses in London and the South East have had to make redundancies because of coronavirus, more than any other region in the UK. Firms in Yorkshire (13%) saw the fewest number of redundancies as a result of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the latest Quarterly Recruitment Outlook from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC ) shows an increase in the percentage of firms expecting workforce growth.

The survey of over 5,900 UK businesses found that:

  • 27% of firms expect their workforce to grow in the next three months, up from 19% in Q4 2020;
  • The proportion of firms expecting a decrease in their workforce dropped from 14% to 9% between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021;
  • 40% of firms tried to recruit in Q1, down compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 average of 55%;
  • 63% of those who attempted to recruit reported difficulty finding staff.

However, the picture varies significantly by sector. Only 20% of hotels and catering firms tried to recruit in the first quarter of this year, while retail and wholesaling also lagged at 34%. On a more positive note, 50% of manufacturers and 54% of construction firms attempted to recruit in Q1.

Written by Rachel Miller.