Record number of SMEs set to close in the year ahead

A view from our Director of Conister, Douglas Grant as research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reports that a record number of small businesses are set to close in the year ahead due to the impact of covid-19.

The long-term future of the UK’s business sector is fundamentally reliant on people and resilience. Business has always been about people buying from other people. We must ensure that principally the financial security of individuals is protected so that they can continue to conduct business with each other and while businesses across the country have shown extraordinary levels of adaptability and strength in the face of changing consumer behaviour, we must also appreciate that we are now beyond the survival stage.

“The BBLS and CBILS played instrumental roles in keeping many resilient SMEs alive and acted as important triage systems to identify and support viable businesses that needed credit. However, we are now passed this triage phase where the collective terms ‘small business’ or ‘SME’ were used to gauge the impact of the pandemic on the economy, are unhelpful. It is imperative that we identify, prioritise and protect our most resilient individual business sectors and segments and avoid exasperating the zombie status of weak businesses that continue to service their debt piles. A great many businesses will not survive this pandemic and we must learn from each one.

At Conister we have delivered upon all of our initial objectives. We received an initial allocation limit of £10 million for the BBLS scheme and so far, have approved 60% of applications. Without doubt, the scale of applications is enormous, however we have since applied for and received an additional allocation of £5 million and will continue to focus on resilient business segments that we believe will thrive in the future. Conister will continue to do all it can and work alongside Government and traditional lenders to support British businesses.