Small firms urged to prepare for extreme weather
More than half of small businesses do not have a plan in place to deal with extreme weather conditions such as floods and snow storms.
That's according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) which found that three out of five (59%) of small firms are without a flood plan despite the news that two thirds (66%) have been negatively impacted by flooding, drought or snow at some point in the last three years.
FSB national policy chair Mike Cherry said: "Last year was the wettest winter on record and 3200 commercial properties were flooded in the UK. With such extreme weather events on the increase small business need all the help they can get to make sure they can stay open whatever the weather.
"We remain concerned that small businesses will not be included in the Government's Flood Re agreement, designed to limit insurance costs for those at most risk of flooding. Firms need to be reassured that affordable flood insurance will be available in the future. Currently three in 10 (29%) do not have the right cover in place.
"The Environment Agency has produced advice for businesses on how to make a flood plan, and we want to make sure businesses are getting all the information, finance and support they need to deal with extreme weather."
Last year's floods caused small organisations approximately £1,531 worth of damage. The biggest problems reported were disruption to staff and customers (46%) and disruption to suppliers, utilities and transport arrangements (32%).
However, small firms will be able to continue operating and avoid financial difficulty by being prepared for such disruption.
The FSB is urging more businesses to implement an extreme weather plan so they are equipped to deal with potential bad weather in 2015.
Mike Cherry said: "Small businesses need to get better prepared for extreme weather. However, we know that despite wind, water or fire, many small businesses do manage to stay open and continue to serve their customers.
"When disasters hit we would encourage people to continue to support their local businesses, many of which stay open whatever the weather."
Examples of extreme weather plans can be found on the Environment Agency website.
In November, the Royal Society published a report – Resilience to extreme weather – encouraging all capital owners to realise the value of adapting to extreme events.