New measures to help businesses hit by flooding
Businesses are continuing to recover from the recent floods, new data released by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revealed, with small firms in affected areas estimated to have lost more than three quarters of a billion pounds. The FSB has published research showing an average cost of £1,531 per business in flood hit areas, which amounts to a total of £831m.
At the peak of the floods, David Cameron announced a package of new measures to help businesses hit by the adverse weather conditions, including:
- a £5,000 “repair and renew” grant for all affected businesses to pay for repairs which improve a property’s ability to withstand future flooding – topping up any money received from insurers to ensure flood resilience is built into homes and businesses as they are repaired
- all affected businesses to receive 100% business rate relief for 3 months and an extra 3 months to pay the business taxes including VAT, PAYE and corporation tax they owe to HMRC as they get back on their feet
- a total commitment in excess of £750 million from the major banks to provide financial support to business and individual customers affected by the floods. The packages include a mixture of repayment holidays, reduced or waived fees, loan extensions, increased flexibility of terms, and additional specialist support teams deployed on the ground
Three months after the first flood warnings were issued, the impact on businesses has been significant. The flood research from FSB indicates that a third (32%) of small firms in flood hit areas suffered from diminished demand for goods and services, while transport disruption obstructed the movement of goods and supplies (29%) and led to staff absences (16%) in many businesses.
There are concerns that, as a result of the floods, small businesses will find it more difficult to obtain insurance. More than a third (37%) of FSB members in flood hit zones expect it to be more difficult to renew their insurance and more than half (59%) expect their insurance to become more expensive as a result of being left out of the government funded Flood Re support scheme.
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