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Supporting small business recovery

Pranav Sood
Written by

Last editedMar 20211 min read

Small business is the beating heart of the UK’s economy. 16.8 million people work for the country’s six million SMEs, generating nearly £2 trillion per year in turnover. More than that, small businesses and their owners are an important part of the social fibre of communities up and down the country.

This is why we are excited to be joining the campaign led by our friends at Tide to build a recovery fund for UK SMEs. The campaign aims to enhance the economy and employment and enable the sharing of best practices in the SME community. It has been championed by the Federation of Small Businesses and many others.

The recovery fund has now raised and distributed over £175,000 to SMEs around the country. Most of the awardees had applied for government support too, but found that it wasn’t enough to keep them from falling into difficulties or to allow them to realise their plans for the future. A diverse range of awardees has already started using the money to carry out urgent repairs, buy new COVID-safe equipment and move their businesses online.

The past 12 months have seen unprecedented challenges for UK SMEs. What began as a public health crisis morphed into an economic catastrophe. Businesses forced into closure by lockdown scrambled to balance their books and keep customers and suppliers happy. Brexit complicated supply chains in ways both foreseen and not. And, business owners struggling to keep up with all of this have reported significant decreases in their mental health and wellbeing, the full impact of which may not be evident for some time.

The government has taken some important steps to address this situation. Furlough has enabled SMEs to keep making payroll, while CBILs and BBLs have provided a working capital buffer to help them adapt to the ‘new normal’ they find themselves in. Updates in the 2021 Budget are also encouraging, not least the announcement of the new ‘Help to Grow’ scheme, which will provide much needed management training alongside incentives to adopt new technologies.

However, there remains much work to be done and much more that the business community can do to help. At GoCardless, we’re proud to take the pain out of getting paid for over 50,000 UK SMEs every month, enabling them to focus on the things that they care about most. We’re as optimistic as ever about the future of SMEs in the UK and around the world and we are looking forward to seeing how the next batch of awardees use their grants.

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