New report reveals SMEs in crisis

A new report by the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) has highlighted the challenges around innovation, net zero and skills facing small businesses in the vehicle repair sector and beyond.

The 10th annual State of Small Business Britain report draws on a decade of research and found that a third of small businesses experienced a threat to their survival within the last five years, with nearly half suffered a loss of turnover during Covid.

Meanwhile, the ERC’s Small Business Price Index (SBPI) showed that operational costs rose faster during the first half of 2022 than they had since 2008, while innovation declined between 2017 and 2021.

The report calls for urgent SME support, which it calls insufficient and fragmented.

Stephen Roper, director of the ERC, said: “It is often stated that small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, and rightly so. Small businesses make up more than 99% of the business population and account for around 50% of jobs.

“Our research underlines the enormous changes these small businesses have had to deal with over the last decade. We have seen rapid advances in technology and growing pressure for action on net zero alongside the substantial challenges posed by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and cost of living rises. All of this has placed tremendous pressure on small businesses.

“We need a coordinated effort from government and business organisations to help small businesses face the future with confidence.”