News in brief: sectorial divide, funding, security,

News in brief
News in brief

North/south divide vs. sectorial divide

A growing north/south divide in terms of business confidence has been highlighted in a recent report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The FSB’s quarterly index also shows small business confidence in Scotland has fallen to its lowest level in three years. Confidence stood at only 0.3 points for the final three months of last year, compared with 4.6 points one year ago.

However, ReesRussell partner Jonathan Russell has claimed that what the report actually highlights is a sectorial divide, rather than a simple North-South split.

Russell said: “The FSB talks about a North-South divide in business confidence but in reality what I believe we are seeing is a sectorial divide. Businesses which are based within the service or innovative industries are generally positive in current outlook, whereas those businesses which are in traditional manufacturing or reliant upon public sector expenditure are more generally pessimistic. This does to some degree represent a North-South divide because this is how the bulk of the business sectors are split.”

Lloyds supported more than 100,000 new businesses in 2015

More than 103,000 new start-ups have been supported through Lloyds Banking Group’s ongoing commitment to help UK enterprises in 2015.

Lloyds Bank offers a range of support mechanisms to its customers grow, including a free online business toolbox, mentoring support, sector expertise and investment in improved digital services.

The 100,000 new start-ups range from florists to small-scale manufacturers, and include a new plastering business set up by Steven Hall, who was among the 2,200 workers made redundant from the Redcar Steelworks in October 2015.

Retail Business Banking at Lloyds Banking Group MD Jen Tippin said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of the UK economy and we’re proud to have helped another 100,000 new ventures get off the ground. It’s a crucial part of our aim to help Britain prosper.

“We’re committed to supporting our customers through the pivotal moments in establishing their new business. Whether they’re setting up a small manufacturer, tea shop or high-tech business, we helped nearly 2,000 budding entrepreneurs to take their first steps to build their business.”

SMEs are neglecting security measures

Around 59% of UK SMEs are not taking their security seriously enough and are at huge risk of a security breach, according to new research from access control and smart card specialists Digital ID. The report also found that 23% of businesses have very little visitor security and 36% have no visitor security processes at all.

When asked what security measures they did have in place, of the 59%, most only had locks or security lights, with nearly two thirds of them admitting they were not in use during working hours. Only 41% had more complex security measures in place with ID cards and restrictive access gates being the most popular.

Despite one in five of SMEs experiencing a security breach in the past year, SMEs seem ignorant about the effects it can have to business. As well as having a financial impact, security breaches can have an impact on staff moral and customer trust.