Cold snap costs UK businesses over £52,000

Bad weather has been cited as the top cause of business disruption over the last 12 months, according to new research by the CMI, Cabinet Office, BSI and BCI.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

The UK hasn't been such a green and pleasant land of late with temperatures plunging to minus five in the last week. These icy conditions have been very bad news for enterprise. Some 77% of UK businesses have been adversely affected by the snow and frost, costing firms an average of £52,000, with some losing up to £1m due to business closures and failures in their supply chains. Travel issues and childcare problems were the principle causes of disruption, as employees struggled to get to work and schools closed.

Businesses are being affected by 'extreme weather' as never before, posits the report: a decade ago, just 15% of businesses were affected by unseasonably chilly conditions, rising to 29% five years ago and 49% last year. You would think that after ten years of increasingly harsher winters, businesses would be taking precaustions by now. Not so, says the CMI.

Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said of the findings: 'Snow in the UK is hardly unusual – yet too many businesses are allowing it to hit them hard. The results are clear – your business will cope better and recover faster if you plan ahead. Managers that don’t are left counting the cost in lost business, damage to customer trust and reputation.

'More businesses are using business continuity management, but too many are shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. With the recent snow alone costing organisations an average of over £52,000, those that do prepare have a competitive advantage.'

It's too late for most firms to start thinking about 'business continuity' now, but with the Spring Equinox set for two days time, the weather is surely set to improve. Surely...

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