UK SMEs have held back from injecting capital to boost their businesses due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty, according to new research released today from Nucleus Commercial Finance.
In a challenging business environment, a fifth (21%) of SMEs - a total of over 900,000 businesses - have put plans to access additional finance on hold. A quarter (25%) attributed this to ongoing Brexit uncertainty, one in seven (15%) to company performance and just over one in 10 (11%) to a change in their business strategy.
Nucleus Commercial Finance, a provider of finance for SMEs, found the mid-point application for additional finance was £35,000, meaning SMEs have held back injecting a total of £20bn in capital over the past 12 months.
For those business owners who have put plans on hold, the majority (88%) intend on trying to secure additional finance again. Of those looking to reignite plans to access finance, a quarter (23%) are unsure of the timeframe, suggesting SMEs want further clarity on the ongoing Brexit situation before they utilise external finance to grow their business.
Simon Willmett, finance director, Nucleus Commercial Finance, said: “In a climate of political and economic uncertainty, UK SMEs are becoming increasingly reluctant to borrow. As a result almost one million of them have held back from accessing additional capital, missing out on the opportunity to invest in future growth and maintain their competitive advantage.
“This hesitancy comes at a time when the UK needs a thriving SME sector to underpin the economy and we can’t ignore the long-term impact of underinvestment on the future of the UK’s SMEs. We believe it is the Government and finance industry’s responsibility to demonstrate the positive impact alternative finance can have for businesses. SMEs need to invest in the future to stay ahead of the curve and continue to play their pivotal role in our economy.”