John Baddeley, director at Wake Smith looks at the importance of SMEs to the UK economy

Wake Smith Solicitors 10 November 2016

New research has shown that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) across the top 10 UK cities are forecast to contribute £217bn to the UK economy by 2020. 

The research conducted with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), reveals SME contributions to the economy will grow by 11 per cent in the five years from 2015 to 2020 – with businesses currently contributing £196bn.

Sheffield is forecast to boost its value added by eight per cent from £3.4bn in 2015 to £3.6bn in 2020. Nearby cities Leeds and Manchester are forecast to boost their value added by 15 per cent, closely followed by Bristol, which is predicted to increase by 14 per cent over the same period.

Across UK cities as a whole, professional and administrative services, such as legal and accountancy firms, are sectors which drive SME growth, with wholesale and retail, public administration, education and health also playing crucial roles.

Sheffield is fortunate in that it benefits from a large number of these sectors, together with its burgeoning creative and digital industries which continue to gain greater momentum from lucrative contracts at the expense of the South East.

This research confirms the critical importance of SMEs as a primary driver of the UK economy through their strong growth and performance.

What should not be ignored or underestimated is their sizeable contribution to the fortunes of the UK economy – growing to 27 per cent of total business contribution by 2020.

The importance of SMEs to the country will hopefully inspire business leaders to invest in their growth strategies.

And this should be a source of optimism for the Government, and for employers, as the strong future SME growth predicted suggests significant opportunity for investors, business owners and their employees.

As the government prepares for the first Autumn Statement following the Brexit decision, the focus must be kept on these smaller companies by helping them to identify, and achieve, new business opportunities.

Growing and moving into new markets can be challenging for business owners so planning is the key to success.

Part of that planning procedure should involve your legal adviser at an early stage who can help to identify potential pitfalls and opportunities and guide you through them.

Wake Smith act for many of the region’s leading SMEs including offering corporatecommercial propertyemploymentlitigation and data protection advice.



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