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SMEs most at risk in Liverpool, Hull and Blackburn

Matt McAllister

The effect of the recession and austerity cuts is being felt more severely by SMEs in some UK cities than others, says a new report. According to Centre for Cities, the three cities in which SMEs are most at risk are Hull, Liverpool and Blackburn

Small Business Outlook 2013 is billed as “the first health check of UK small and medium sized businesses on a city-by-city basis”. It found that two-thirds of SMEs in certain UK cities rely on trading with customers in their local market. This means that these businesses are particularly affected by unemployment, low wages and welfare cuts in their cities.

Other cities in which SMEs are vulnerable include Sunderland and Middlesborough, according to the report. The least vulnerable cities for SMEs were Cambridge, Crawley, Reading, Aldershot and York.

“Small and medium sized businesses are the lifeblood of the UK’s economy, but Small Business Outlook flags that many have been particularly affected by the impact of the recession on their local economies,” said Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities. “They will face challenges ahead as further austerity measures have a knock on effect on local demand for their services.”

Jones added that the government needed to recognise the importance of local economies to the resilience of SMEs and said it should “make sure Local Enterprise Partnerships have a role in delivering national business support policies”.

The report also found that 47% of private sector jobs in cities are provided by SMEs, and that between 2005 and 2012 there was a 37% increase in city-based SMEs.






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