SMEs lacking severe weather preparation

More than half of small firms do not have a strategy in place to deal with extreme weather conditions such as floods or snows, new research has revealed.


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said that only 41% of SMEs could deal with extreme weather, despite 66% of small businesses feeling the negative impacts of such conditions in the last three years.


Flooding, snow and drought are the common problems seen by businesses and preparations are still lacking, despite widespread damage and disruption at the start of 2014.


It marked the wettest winter on record and 3,200 commercial premises were flooded in the UK – seriously threatening a lot of smaller businesses.


With the threat of negative conditions seemingly becoming more regular too, SMEs need more assistance in understanding both the dangers and the solutions.


Severe weather could lead to insolvency as assets are destroyed, especially if businesses lack the right forms of insurance and other assistive means.


Small businesses are not included in the Government’s Flood Re agreement which is designed to limit insurance costs in the instance of flooding. This means that three in ten firms do not have the right insurance cover in place; leaving them under serious threat should floodwaters return.


The Environment Agency has worked to ensure that some level of information is available to small businesses but flood approaches will depend on the available finances and staffing.


Average damage costs of £1,531 were noted in areas affected by flooding in 2014 while those preparing for floods were able to avoid such levels of disruption. Of the main issues, staff and customer disruption was listed as top of the list while disruption to suppliers, transport and utilities was also a problem in a third of cases.


As a result of this threat, the FSB has called for more businesses to put plans in place so that they can be prepared.


By Phil Smith


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