The business climate for smaller firms suffered as a result of the extremely cold winter, a new report has suggested.
Compiled by Lloyds TSB Commercial, the report estimated that the worst winter in many years cost the UK’s small businesses as much as £7.3 billion.
According to the survey, seven out of ten small firms were adversely affected by the severe weather.
Of the 1,000 firms polled, only 7 per cent reported an improvement in trade during the coldest parts of the winter.
Four out of ten firms (39 per cent) experienced a direct impact, with premises either forced to close or cut off by the depth of snow.
Some 42 per cent of respondents said they suffered indirect consequences such as interruptions to both supplies and deliveries.
Stephen Pegge, head of external affairs at Lloyds TSB Commercial, commented: “Businesses have faced a double blow over the past few months.
“They have had to grabble with the downturn in trade as a result of the recession, as well as the impact of the severe weather conditions.”