Tuesday 2 March 2021 12:01 am

UK small businesses donated £6bn in cash and gifts during the Covid pandemic

During 2020, UK small and medium companies tried to help locked down communities by contributing cash donations and gifts-in-kind worth £6bn.

Of the total £18bn donated, only a third of the cash was offered as monetary and gift donations at £4bn and £2bn each, according to a report collated by Oxford Economics and Intuit Quickbooks

While at a time when many staff is still furloughed, the majority of the donations and the remaining sum of £11bn was offered through voluntary labour.

Read more: We clapped for carers – how about a hand for our unsung charity volunteers?

The volunteering was based on 650m hours of time, and equivalent to nine hours per month per SME.

Despite the UK experiencing the biggest fall in economic output on record in 2020, with 22 per cent of SMEs saying they are at significant risk of closure in 2021, 59 per cent of them made a contribution.

Additionally, 17 per cent contributed primarily at a regional level, and 12 per cent at a national level.

Intuit Quickbooks along with Oxofrd Economics published the report on small and medium businesses’ contributions to society last year.

Intuit Quickbooks’ vice president Chris Evans said: “The fact that small businesses have made a substantial contribution to their local communities is so inspiring. It’s been a year like no other – they’ve faced unparalleled challenges like being forced to close, furlough staff and apply for loans to get cash flow,”.

Consumer support for SMEs blooms 

The recognition of SME’s value to society has improved drastically during 2020, as the report reveals 43 per cent of consumers are now more likely to shop at SMB’s compared to this time last year.

Across the UK, 80 per cent of adults said that local SMEs played a valuable role in their community in 2020, while 58 per cent said they appreciate SMEs in their community more than they did before the coronavirus pandemic.

SMB’s are benefiting just as much as consumers, with the community support helping to boost optimism for their prospects in 2021. Some 39 per cent of SMEs felt that local support for their business had increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Of these, 84 per cent agreed that this had boosted their optimism for the future.