Covid-19: a third of SMEs carried on without government support

On average 29% of SMEs have kept calm and carried on with no action needed, according to survey from Purbeck Insurance Services, showing how SMEs are coping well with the pandemic

The survey showed that when asked about their job prospects, 31% said they were confident and 17% described themselves as very confident about the security of their job. This left 16% feeling pessimistic and 10% very pessimistic. In the middle, 26% were neither confident nor pessimistic.

Communication can play a big part in how employees feel about their role and the survey suggests lockdown was not a barrier to how the bosses of UK SMEs communicated with and looked after their staff. 

Indeed, most UK SMEs have been open and honest with their employees about the finances of the business with 80% of the workers surveyed said their boss was transparent about how the business is coping financially.  

However, the survey underlined the personal financial pressure business owners have faced.  Approximately 20% confirmed the director of the company has a personal guarantee for a loan for the business, which puts their home and personal assets at risk if the business fails. 

Furthermore, 18% confirmed that that the boss took a pay cut and 14% said that the business owner had not paid themselves. 

The strategy of being open and communicative extended to how SMEs looked after their employees’ mental health.

Again, the feedback demonstrated how the majority of SMEs endeavoured to support their staff - 50% said they felt very supported by their employer, 28% felt supported but believed their employer could have done more while 22% felt their mental health was not a consideration at all.

Todd Davison, managing director of Purbeck Insurance Services said: ‘Transparency creates trust, making staff feel included and valued but it also helps them understand exactly what’s at stake for the owners of the business. 

‘If SME owners start to look round for finance independent of any government support it is vital they look at the ways they can mitigate the risk of a personal guarantee backed loan as the options outside of this type of loan could become quite limited.

‘Indeed, the Financial Stability Report published by the Bank of England estimates that £200bn of cashflow funding will be required for UK companies in addition to the refinancing of £275bn of existing debt maturing this year.

‘This is where Personal Guarantee Insurance can step in to give SME owners the confidence to access the finance they need, without the worry of losing house and home if the business does fail.’

The survey was conducted on 5 July among 200 workers in businesses employing 250 people or less, across the UK.

Useful links:

SME Employee Survey

Zak Jakubowski |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2019-2021]

Zak Jakubowski was a reporter at Accountancy Daily, published by ...

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