October 2016 economic statistics: All the figures SMEs need to know

As always, there’s an element of bad news what would our October 2016 economic statistics roundup be without it” Data from Begbies Traynor revealed nearly 100,000 businesses forced to implement the National Living Wage in April 2016 are now in a state of financial distress. And the situation looks set to further deteriorate as the government appears intent on increasing the National Living Wage to ?9 an hour by 2020.

“My concern is that many of these struggling businesses may now be forced to take more drastic measures to manage a growing cost base, such as further cuts to staff numbers, reducing bonuses or even passing on the increased costs to the end consumer,” said Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor.

[rb_inline_related] Furthermore, the number of companies de-listing from AIM has increased 20 per cent to 107 in the last year, UHY Hacker Young claimed. It said financial stress and insolvency was the leading cause accounting for the removal of 30 companies from the junior stock market so far in 2016. The impact of low oil prices caused particular difficulties, UHY suggested, further saying Brexit uncertainty has made for a tougher fundraising environment.

And where does the UK stand in terms of the workforce this month” It’s been over two years since the right to request flexible working was extended to all employees with six months” service. My Family Care and Hydrogen revealed that of its 1,897 participating staff and bosses, only 34 per cent were encouraged to work flexibly. There was also a big disconnect between the hours that people work and want to work. Only £37 per cent of people were found to have flexible start and finish times. Take into account the fact that greater flexibility could add an extra £11.5bn to the economy, then you get the gist of the problem

It certainly doesn’t bode well when latched onto news by AXA the last offering from our October 2016 economic statistics feature. It stated that 81 per cent Brits who experienced difficulties with their mental health also suffered in terms of physical health. The government’s department of health suggested mental ill health is the largest cause of disability in the UK, contributing up to 22.8?per cent of the total burden, compared to 15.9?per cent for cancer and 16.2?per cent for cardiovascular disease. Its?wider economic costs, it said, have been estimated to reach £105.2bn each year.

Mark Winwood, director of psychological services for AXA PPP healthcare, said: “When employees are experiencing financial problems or have a mental health or physical health issue, the link between these areas of wellbeing may lead to their negative experience being exacerbated. It’s a potentially toxic mix that calls for careful handling. Being afraid to open up about personal problems whether they?re work related or not can seriously affect employee wellbeing. Mood, productivity and engagement can all be disrupted. To help to address this, it’s important for the organisation’s leadership to promote a positive, supportive workplace culture where employees are encouraged to speak up and seek support for the challenges that are proving difficult to overcome.

If you enjoyed our October 2016 economic statistics roundup, have a look at our September instalment.

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