SME Health Check shows positive signs in the third-quarter of 2019

The latest small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) Health Check Index has shown recovery from the second quarter of 2019, with business confidence increasing.

The figures have bounced back from a record low in Q2, with the report by Virgin Money UK showing that the Index rose by 7.5 points to 49.

The index measures a variety of factors across the business landscape, including;

  • Net business creation
  • GDP
  • Employment
  • Revenue
  • Business costs
  • Capacity
  • Lending
  • Confidence

The increase in the score represents a rise in economic activity, as well as a slowing of the rate of cost inflation and a decline in the cost of commercial rents.

There were significant increases in nine of the 11 regions that the SME Health Check Index covers, with the West Midlands and Yorkshire showing the largest improvements.

The report also looked at the impact that late payments have on small businesses, with 74 per cent experiencing late payments from customers in the last year.

The research found that 13 per cent of all payments were late last year, with 88 per cent of SMEs stating that they have paid a supplier late themselves because of receiving a late payment from a customer.

Gavin Opperman, Group Customer Banking Director at Virgin Money UK, said: “The Q3 SME Health Check results show cause for optimism. After a challenging start to the year, UK SMEs are showing definite signs of recovery.

“There are undoubtedly challenges to navigate, and political uncertainty remains a thorn in our economy’s side.”

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