More SMEs plan for future despite a third anticipating threats

SMEs are increasingly looking ahead to the future, according to research published by UK Finance.

The research found 42% of SMEs said their plans were future-focused in the third quarter of 2020, compared with 25% who were still focused on the immediate impact as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, with the uncertainty of the coronavirus restrictions and the end of the Brexit transition on 31 December approaching, 32% of SMEs said the future represents threats compared with 19% who saw opportunities for business.

Prior to stricter COVID restrictions, the same survey reported “clear signs” of an improved business outlook.

However, improvements to the outlook for SMEs came as a result of the use of government-backed lending schemes, with around nine in 10 SMEs securing COVID-related financial support in Q3.

Stephen Pegge, managing director of commercial finance at UK Finance, said:

“Despite the considerable challenges which remain, it’s encouraging to see that a growing number of businesses are now able to look ahead to the future and access the support they need to prepare, with nine in 10 SMEs who applied successfully securing finance.

"The industry continues to work closely with government, regulators and business groups to ensure SMEs have access to the best support, information and guidance.”

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