QUARTERLY HEALTH CHECK SHOWS SMES ARE AT 18 MONTH HIGH

A falling number of business bankruptcies and increased lending to small and medium-sized enterprises brings relief to UK’s SMEs.

Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are celebrating being in their strongest position since the final quarter of 2015, according to the latest SME Health Check Index.

This quarterly report for CYBG, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, looks at the big picture for SMEs in the UK by measuring eight key factors affecting them; including bankruptcies, business costs, confidence, capacity, employment, gross domestic product, lending and revenue.

Weaker business confidence may have played some part in quashing the headline figures, however, the report suggests SME confidence remains higher than it was throughout the whole of 2016, adding to hopes that the UK economy will pick up some pace throughout the remainder of the year.

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Most indicators improved since the previous quarter though and it’s especially encouraging that the number of bankruptcies fell markedly, while lending to SMEs increased. Moreover, business costs faced by SMEs seem to have marginally plateaued in Q2 2017, which is a welcome development for businesses.

Regionally, eight of nine English regions, alongside Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, are shown to have made some kind of improvement, with the North East, Wales and East Midlands topping the table.

In fact, only Yorkshire and the Humber experienced a slight dip according to the quarterly report for CYBG, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks. The West Midlands and Northern Ireland see the highest overall improvements.

David Duffy, CEO CYBG PLC commented “the challenges SMEs face are significant and we need to be offering our support and expertise to help move our country through these unprecedented times”. Adding “the future prospects of our regional economies are in no small measure dependent on the successful growth of those SMEs.”

The UK’s SMEs contribute £1.8 trillion to the economy each year and account for 99.9% of the total number of private sector businesses. They also employ upwards of 15.7 million people, approximately 60% of all UK employment.

To help us better understand how SMEs are performing in the current business climate and how their performance is being measured, Senior Economist at Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), Oliver Kolodseike and Graeme Sands, the Head of Business Banking at CYBG explain.

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