Yorkshire SMEs unhappy with growth but struggling to access finance

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small businesses in Yorkshire and the north east are more likely to have experienced losses than their peers elsewhere in the country, despite growing their order book.

It comes as half of companies in Yorkshire say they are unhappy with their current business performance.

According to data from Hiscox, 50% of the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) saw negative or no growth in the last year.

Conversely, the specialist insurer found SMEs in the region were more likely to have grown their order book, with 40% attracting more work, compared to 30% across the UK.

A fifth (19%) of Yorkshire and north east SMEs increased total investment in their businesses in the past 12 months, while 13% of businesses nationally said the same. A similar proportion of companies said they were planning to invest in the next year.

However, businesses in Yorkshire and the north east were more likely to have difficulty accessing funding, with seven out of 10 respondents in the region struggling to get cash for their businesses. Just over two-thirds (65%) of SME owners said the same nationally.

As a result, more business owners in the region had sought finance through remortgaging their house than the national average (7% to 4%).

Despite this, SMEs in Yorkshire and the north east appeared more optimistic than those elsewhere in the UK, with 58% saying they are positive about future performance. The average nationwide was 47%.

By contrast, a survey from Close Brothers Asset Finance found almost half of SME owners in Yorkshire were disappointed with the way their business has performed.

Two in five (38%) said they would target increased growth in the next 12 months. However, two-thirds of those planning investment were concerned their application for bank finance would be rejected.

Close Brothers CEO Mike Randall said innovation is “critical” for the region’s SMEs.