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Small Businesses

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN HL13623, tabled on 23 February 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the survey by Hiscox The Hiscox Business Demystified Survey Challenges for UK SMEs - 2020 and beyond, published on 4 January.

Answered on

9 March 2021

We have noted the Hiscox report and recognise the concerns it highlights that are faced by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), including access to finance, employee retention, and access to mental health support for employees.

The Government has implemented a range of measures to mitigate the immediate economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Additionally, as of the end of January 2021, over 12 million people and jobs have been protected to a sum of around £65 billion.

The loan schemes were launched at the beginning of the pandemic, and will close on 31 March 2021. A Successor Loan Scheme will be launched soon after to support additional lending.

We continue to engage with SMEs across the UK both directly and through the Business Representative Organisations such as the FSB, the CBI and Make UK.

Through GOV.UK’s Coronavirus support for business webpages, we are signposting mental health resources for businesses and employers, including Mind’s website and the Mental Health at Work toolkit.

In terms of wider support for businesses as restrictions ease, we continue to encourage businesses to access the free and tailored support available through our core services including GOV.UK, the FREEPHONE Business Support Helpline, and the network of 38 Growth Hubs operating in England.