SMEs and Covid-19: how has your area been impacted?

A recent Simply Business survey found that the Covid-19 pandemic has cost the average small business in the UK over £11,000, but some areas have been hit harder than others.

The insurance provider surveyed 3,700 UK SME owners and self employed people for the SME Confidence Report. The report found that while every region in the UK has been impacted, the severity depends on location.

Cost to small businesses highest in Scotland and North East

While average lost earnings for SMEs across the UK was £11,779, the survey found that Scotland and the North West were hit harder than everywhere else outside of the capital.

Average loss of income – which includes lost earnings, work, and loan repayments – came to £15,483.65 in Scotland, followed by £15,039.52 for the North East of England.

Loss of income by region

  1. London – £17,074.36

  2. Scotland – £15,483.65

  3. North East England – £15,039.52

  4. South East England – £12,753.44

  5. Wales – £11,804.82

  6. North West England – £11,494.86

  7. The Midlands – £11,079.12

  8. South West England – £10,989.60

South West sees fewest business closures

At the other end of the spectrum, the South West has seen the least impact from the pandemic. Not only does it come nearly £800 below the average in terms of lost income, it's also seen the fewest business closures – only two per cent of respondents in the South West had been forced to permanently close their doors, compared to the national average of four per cent.

The South East is in a similar position, with only three per cent of small businesses closing for good because of Covid-19.

Percentage of businesses permanently closed by region


North West6%



North East4%


South East3%

South West2%

Unsurprisingly, the South West is also the part of the country that’s the most confident about business returning to normal. 79 per cent of businesses in the South West and 78 per cent in the South East plan to continue as things return to normal.

How many businesses plan to continue as normal?

  1. South West – 79 per cent

  2. South East – 78 per cent

  3. North West – 76 per cent

  4. Scotland – 76 per cent

  5. North East – 75 per cent

  6. Midlands – 74 per cent

  7. Wales – 74 per cent

  8. London – 70 per cent

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