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6 months ago

British Summer Rains on the Economy’s Parade

The British summer, despite being known for its unpredictable weather, took an unexpected toll on the UK economy in July. Alongside unusual bouts of wet weather, strikes by NHS employees and teachers contributed to a 0.5% slump in the economy, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The newly published figures, which are worse than analysts had predicted, continue a trend of sluggish economic growth in the UK. In this article, we look into the impact of this on our SMEs and investigate the broader economic landscape.

Weather Dampens Hopes

July's downturn can be attributed to a few factors. Firstly, the strikes in key sectors such as healthcare and education led to a decrease in output from the services sector. The NHS strike, in particular, saw senior doctors and radiographers walking out over pay disputes.

The adverse weather also took its toll on sectors like construction and retail. Regular downpours forced many building projects to pause and put shoppers off heading to the high streets. These weather-related setbacks only compounded the economic misery.

GDP Down the Drain

To understand the implications of the miserable month of July, it's helpful to fully understand the concept of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GDP is a measure of all the economic activities within a country. When GDP increases, it signifies economic growth and a general rise in living standards. On the other hand, a decrease in GDP indicates economic decline.

Rainy London streetFor businesses, a shrinking GDP can be a worrying prospect. It can lead to reduced consumer spending and therefore reduced revenue. If GDP falls for two consecutive quarters, it’s typically classed as a recession. The UK is not in a recession at present, but there have been concerns over its poor economic performance in recent months.

SMEs Keeping Their Head Above Water

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the UK economy. Many of these businesses operate in the sectors directly impacted by July's challenges. The decrease in spending caused by wet weather and industrial action could well translate into lower revenues and deflated profit margins.

Annie Rose, a horse-riding business owner in Cumbria, told the BBC: "When they have consistently poor weather, they'll go and do other things that are inside or they'll go on low-level walks around a lake, that's not going to cost them a lot of money. Not sit on a horse in the pouring rain.”

A Brighter Outlook from the Government

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt expressed his optimism about the future despite the recent economic challenges. He claimed that the UK is on track to outpace Germany, France and Italy in terms of economic growth.

In an effort to control rising inflation, the Bank of England has been gradually raising interest rates. While this can help ease inflation, it also makes borrowing more expensive, potentially reducing consumer spending further.

Keep Your Business Warm, Dry and Efficient

With energy prices unusually high at the moment, bills can add to the worry over reduced consumer spending in the current economic climate. At BusinessComparison, we can help compare deals from gas and electricity suppliers, allowing you to find the best energy rates.

Insurance Policies for a Rainy Day

For businesses searching for insurance policies that offer the right level of coverage and affordability, our team is ready to help. We have experience securing insurance coverage for small businesses and larger organisations.

Take a Rain Check on the Broadband Search

For busy business owners, broadband deals can be time-consuming and frustrating. We can save SMEs time and money by conducting a thorough search of business broadband offers to identify the optimal fit.

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Sam White