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Businesses will need additional finance

A survey commissioned by the British Business Bank has found that small businesses in the West Midlands will need additional finance as they recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Small business finance intermediaries, including accountants, lawyers and business advisors, across the UK took part in the bank’s latest business advisory community survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, with the majority of respondents in the West Midlands stating that smaller businesses would require additional finance during the next 12 to 18 months as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the West Midlands, respondents thought demand for finance in the region was strong across all development stages, with 57 per cent saying demand exceeded supply.

The survey found that in the West Midlands, the demand from businesses would likely to be highest for additional debt finance (92 per cent) over the next 12-18 months, with a lower number seen to be requiring additional alternative finance (76 per cent).

Respondents in the region felt that small businesses were well-informed about alternative finance options, such as marketplace or peer-to-peer lending, compared to the UK average (50 per cent versus 29 per cent).

Alongside the strong demand for finance, intermediaries in the West Midlands said a lack of awareness of the finance options available (65 per cent), an aversion to taking on finance (57 per cent) and access to the supply of finance (47 per cent) among smaller businesses are the main barriers to demand for finance since March 2020, aside from the Covid-19 pandemic. These findings were in line with the results across the UK.

Dr Sophie Dale-Black, UK network director, Midlands at the British Business Bank, said: “This latest research reveals the major impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on businesses across the region. It also provides new insight into the demand for future funding, with West Midlands businesses set to require increased levels of finance as they progress on their recovery journey.”

“The British Business Bank remains committed to working alongside our partners to increase awareness of finance options and aide them with the knowledge and support in making the right financial decisions for the future. We are here to help smaller businesses in the West Midlands start up, scale up and stay ahead.”

Pictured: Dr Sophie Dale-Black, UK network director, Midlands and North of England