The Zurich SME Risk Index is part of our October 2016 economic statistics roundup, and shows that business risk is at its lowest level in four years, despite 53 per cent of Britain’s small businesses voicing concerns over the current economic climate. This was according to survey results from over 1,000 SME owners and decision makers – with only seven per cent remotely considering closing down shop. General reduction in business risk, the index found, had resulted in a positive knock-on effect on business operations. Only 15 per cent of SMEs have had to reduce prices in the last financial quarter, while nine per cent made staff cuts. So there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses, Anne Griffiths, head of SME proposition at Zurich said. “Businesses are growing at twice the rate of those shrinking in the UK. The SME community has long been the economic heartbeat of Britain, and while fixing the economy remains the highest priority, the wider picture is one of success, prosperity, and most importantly, optimism.” It comes hand-in-hand with news that the number of private sector businesses in the UK has hit a record 5.5m. SMEs account for at least 99 per cent of businesses in every industry sector, business and energy secretary Greg Clark hailed. The total number of companies in London has also reached one million for the first time and the number of businesses employing people across the country has risen for the third year running.
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