Small businesses urged to make 'severe weather plan'

A "flood" sign partly submerged on a flooded rural road Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many businesses said extreme weather had caused disruption to staff and customers

Almost 60% of small firms do not have plans in place for extreme weather - despite two thirds having been affected by snow, drought or floods in the last three years - a survey suggests.

The Federation of Small Businesses, which commissioned the research, said firms "need to get better prepared".

The survey also found 29% of small firms did not have insurance for loss of income or damage caused by flooding.

A total of 1,199 federation members took part in the survey.

It found 59% of small businesses had "no resilience plans to combat extreme weather".

The federation said damage caused by widespread flooding last year cost firms in affected areas an average of £1,531.

Mike Cherry, the federation's national policy chairman, said: "Last year was the wettest winter on record and 3,200 commercial properties were flooded in the UK.

"With such extreme weather events on the increase, small businesses need all the help they can get to make sure they can stay open whatever the weather."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Some 66% of firms said their business had been affected by snow, drought or floods in the last three years

He said he was "concerned" that small businesses would not be included in the government's Flood Re-agreement - a fund being set up to ensure people living in areas with a high risk of flooding can get affordable home insurance.

"Firms need to be reassured that affordable flood insurance will be available in the future," Mr Cherry added.

Of the businesses in the survey which said they had been affected by extreme weather, 46% said they experienced disruption to staff and customers, while 32% said suppliers, utilities or transport arrangements were disrupted.

The federation advised firms to check Environment Agency guidance on preparing for flooding.

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