Revealed: The cities where SMEs feel most vulnerable

Hull, Liverpool and Blackburn are the places in which small businesses feel most exposed to public spending cuts and the lingering effects of recession.

by Elizabeth Anderson

Towns and cities in northern England have been worst hit by public sector spending cuts, and this is having a knock-on effect on the region’s SMEs which are heavily dependent on local demand.

According to the thinktank Centre for Cities, small and medium enterprises in Blackburn, Hull and Liverpool are particularly feeling the strain. At the other end of the spectrum, businesses in Cambridge, Crawley and Reading have been more insulated from the austerity measures imposed as a result of the recent recession.

The study, commissioned by insurer Zurich, found that almost two thirds of SMEs in some cities rely on trade from local customers, rather than selling further afield or exporting overseas.

This means that SMEs in poorer places have become over-reliant on local trading and are therefore more exposed to job cuts, falling wages and weak consumer confidence.

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