Skip to main content

Contracted economy

The UK economy shrank in the last three months of 2012, but this could be blamed on the somewhat artificial growth in the third quarter, thanks to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Most industry sectors have reported disappointing performances, but despite this they remain resilient and, in many cases, optimistic about what the next 12 months has in store.

Money worries

The quarterly Close Brothers Business Barometer* asks SMEs from a variety of sectors across the UK about their feelings on a number of financial issues.

27% of businesses surveyed in the last quarter of 2012 said that the main barrier to growth was a lack of adequate funding.

Cash flow problems such as bad debt and late payments were the most pressing business concern for a fifth of UK SMEs.

Almost half of respondents said they would consider using invoice finance as a means to alleviating cash flow issues but almost 30% said that while they would consider it, they didn’t feel well enough informed to do so at this point.

Industry snapshots

Here’s a snapshot of industry news, drawn from our independently held Barometer survey.

Manufacturing and engineering Print and packaging
13% of manufacturers and 12% of engineering firms surveyed stated that they had been turned down for finance by their bank in the last six months. The main business concern for the print and packaging industry was cited to be market volatility (55%) followed by competitor products and services (22%).
Recruitment Services
40% of firms operating in the recruitment sector reported that they were worried about the lack of adequately skilled staff to fill vacancies. More than one in ten businesses in the professional services industry stated that they were actually benefiting from current trading conditions.
Transport and haulage Wholesale and distribution
While 17% of hauliers are planning for business expansion, almost a third say that accessing adequate finance is proving a major barrier to any potential growth.

More than two fifths of wholesale and distribution firms have stated that they will hire permanent, full time staff this year and a further 13% intend to create permanent part time posts.


Looking forward

More than a third of UK firms are cautiously optimistic that the recession is behind us and believe that trading conditions will continue to improve throughout 2013.

*The Close Brothers Business Barometer is carried out on a quarterly basis. It canvasses the opinion of SME owner managers on a range of issues affecting their business.

Contact us

Close Brothers Invoice Finance
Ridgeland House
165 Dyke Road, Hove
East Sussex, BN3 1UY

T: 0127 305 9530 *

*Freephone from landlines

Keep in touch