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February 21, 2014

One in four small businesses affected by floods

One in four small businesses affected by floodsOne in four of the UK's smallest firms say they expect turnover to dip because of the recent floods, according to research from Enterprise Nation.

The survey also finds that almost one in five small firms expects to lose thousands because of the flood; and 32% say they expect the recent weather to have a "long-term impact" on their business.

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: "Seeing your home submerged or without power is a terrible experience. But with 70% of all new businesses started at home, it's clear the extreme weather we're seeing will have a more profound impact on those who depend on their home-offices as a livelihood. For small companies just starting out, an event like this can be make or break."

The government has launched three small business support schemes to help firms that are struggling as a result of the weather. They are:

  • Business Support Scheme: This government scheme is worth up to £10 million, providing hardship funding for SMEs in areas affected by the floods. Businesses that have been flooded – as well as businesses in affected areas that have suffered significant loss of trade – will be able to apply for financial support. HMRC will also give firms extra time to file accounts without any penalties.
  • Business Support Helpline: This government helpline is providing advice to businesses affected by floods. It offers a free one-hour call with a dedicated business support adviser to help businesses get back on their feet. The helpline number is 0300 456 3565.
  • The Business Exchange: Developed in conjunction with Enterprise Nation, the Business Exchange offers details of support for small firms including 1,000 free mobile wifi devices for displaced small businesses from Vodafone, office space from Regus, call handling by Moneypenny, laptop loans from Toshiba and free video conferencing from Citrix.

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "Further financial support for small firms directly or indirectly affected is good news. With the floods yet to abate, we want the level of support to be kept under review. Firms in these areas will take months to get back on their feet, and may need further help."

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