It’s no secret that SMEs play a significant role in the UK economy. As of 2020, there are 5.9 million SMEs in the UK, contributing about 50% of its GDP. It goes without saying that the pandemic has put SMEs in a precarious position. Empowering them to grow again will be vital to the UK’s recovery – they hold the key to our GDP, the job market and to their communities.
With just a week left before the December 31, 2020, transition-period deadline, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) finally agreed to new post-Brexit trading arrangements and, in doing so, avoided a potentially disastrous no-deal scenario. But conspicuously absent from the trade deal are rules governing the financial-services sector.
The UK’s economy showed promising signs of recovery during the fourth quarter of 2020 but not enough to compensate for a dismal year, which, with its annual 9.9-percent contraction, broke a 300-year record and clocked in among the G7’s worst economic performances. Although 2021 is getting off to a slow start with new lockdown measures, increased vaccination and more consumer spending may fuel a vigorous rebound later in the year.
In the United Kingdom, COVID-19’s impact on businesses has been tempered by a number of timely government loan schemes. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they will run their course, and the reeling in of the financial lifeline is guaranteed to cause a liquidity shortfall. What steps must be taken now to mitigate the inevitable blow to the economy that could snowball into yet another financial crisis?
The Bank of England (BoE) announced on Thursday, September 17, that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) had voted unanimously to leave its benchmark bank rate at 0.1 percent whilst also maintaining the target for the total stock of asset purchases under its quantitative-easing (QE) programme at £745 billion.
According to figures released on Friday, September 11, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the United Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by 6.6 percent during July, as lockdown measures in the country continued to ease and the economy showed clearer signs of recovery.