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UK firms 'lose £174m' due to March freeze

Date Added: 17/04/2013  

A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has found that the bad weather experienced by much of the UK during March cost firms a total of £174 million.

Data collected by the body uncovered that more than half (55 per cent) of UK businesses were impacted by the snow and ice seen by large parts of the country during the last month.

FSB research found that on average, each firm lost £1,580, with its poll naming loss of demand (30 per cent) and closures (26 per cent) as the two most common impacts.

National policy chairman of the FSB Mike Cherry stated the coldest March in 100 years had a massive impact on the health of a lot of small firms all over the UK.

"While a few businesses have managed to take advantage of the weather many have found it difficult to manage. Not only have they had to cope with a lack of demand for products, but many have had to close," he said.

Mr Cherry added the FSB fears that the prolonged cold spell will mean people are choosing to travel by car to supermarkets or out of town shopping centres instead of using their local shops.

One in five businesses that were surveyed by the FSB for the report also said they had been negatively impacted by the flooding in 2012.

Speaking at the FSB annual conference recently, business minister Vince Cable stated the government is taking action in order to provide as much support to small firms as possible.

He highlighted the fact that the Conservative-Liberal Democrat alliance has imposed measures such as a freeze on petrol duty and provided help with the cost of hiring people and national insurance, all of which was requested by small companies.

"These are difficult times but I think there are some positive signals, reasons for being confident," Mr Cable was quoted as saying by the Guardian. He added:  "We're getting a rate of startups and new companies more than we've ever had."

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Posted by Michael Beam

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