32% of SMEs have considered leaving the UK

Almost a third of UK SMEs (32%) have considered leaving the UK to increase their chances of success, according to the latest research.

The study commissioned by Dun & Bradstreet revealed that SME confidence in future financial success was down 19 percentage points compared with last year.

In addition, the average amount owed to SMEs at any one time over the past 12 months has increased by nearly 25% since 2017 to £80,141.

The main consequences of late payments include cash flow difficulties (31%), delayed payment to suppliers (28%) and reduced profit performance (22%).

Some 62% of respondents believed that there should be legislation in place to mitigate the problem of late payments.

A similar proportion of SMEs (63%) said that they had a clear business strategy in place, down from the 70% recorded last year.

Tim Vine, head of European trade credit at Dun & Bradstreet, said: “Given the changing political, regulatory and economic landscape, it’s unsurprising that small business confidence is down.

“There’s no doubt the months ahead will continue to be challenging as we move towards the Brexit deadline.

“Small business leaders are having to contend with scenario planning on top of dealing with day-to-day priorities, such as cash flow management, late payments and securing finance for future growth.

“Despite the range of factors at play, positively, over half of the businesses we spoke to were confident that their business can achieve financial growth over the next five years.

“The resilience of SMEs will stand them in very good stead through these changing and complex times.”

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