Many businesses in Aberdeenshire struggle to survive their first five years

More than half the the companies started in Aberdeenshire in 2014 failed to survive their first five years in business.

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 8:40 am
Many businesses were struggling to survive even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The Federation of Small Businesses says firms were “already up against it” before the Covid-19 pandemic – but they are now reporting record falls in revenue with many posed to cut staff numbers.

Office for National Statistics data shows 1,220 businesses in Aberdeenshire were set up in 2014 – but after three years 800 were still active, and by 2019 just 580 remained.

That equates to a five-year survival rate of 48 per cent.

However, that’s slightly better than across the UK as a whole, with the five-year survival rate to 2019 being 43 per cent.

Survival rates for businesses in clothes manufacturing, food services and food services such as restaurants were among the lowest nationally.

In the FSB’s Small Business Index report, Mike Cherry, national chairman, said small firms were already struggling with political uncertainty and a surge in operating costs before the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Government support, such as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, had led to a “summer bounce”, but that many were now struggling.

He added: “Firms still report a record drop in revenues, while the number planning to let staff go is at an all-time high.

“Exporters – still without any significant clarity around what the future holds for trade with Europe – say international sales have plummeted.”

Last year, 1,125 new businesses were launched in Aberdeenshire, 20 fewer than those which ceased to trade in the same year.

At last count there were 12,210 active companies in the area.

The ONS figures also reveal one-year survival rates for companies set up in 2018.

In Aberdeenshire 1,040 businesses were still active one year on from launch, a survival rate of 95 per cent, which is higher than the UK rate of 89 per cent.

Due to coronavirus restrictions imposed from March, many industries in the UK have been hit by enforced closures or lower takings.

The Government has provided a range of support for businesses over the pandemic including a Bounce Back Loan Scheme, the opportunity to defer VAT payments and business rates holidays.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has also been extended until March.

A spokesperson said: “We are committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”