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Government focuses on climate change risks to SMEs

The Government has backed calls by the Federation of Small Businesses to tackle the threat to SMEs caused by flooding and other climate change events.

The Government's Committee on Climate Change has published a report that reaffirms the real and growing risk of climate change to small businesses, and warns that the risk of flooding must be addressed urgently.

The findings of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report draws heavily from research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) showing that two-thirds of small firms have been adversely affected by severe weather in recent years.

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: 

"This report recognises the great risk posed by flooding and extreme weather on small businesses. It also confirms the problems we have consistently identified with access to affordable small business flood insurance.
"Severe weather is expected to increase the severity and frequency of flooding, leaving vulnerable regions at real risk of greater damage and disruption. The economic fallout extends beyond those businesses who actually receive flood water through their doors. It disrupts supply chains, distribution channels and impacts whole communities."

FSB research suggests up to 75,000 smaller businesses at risk of flooding could currently struggle to find affordable flood insurance. However, small businesses are not covered by the new Flood Re agreement. According to the FSB, only 25% of micro-businesses have a resilience plan in place that specifically includes severe weather.

"Small businesses need to be empowered to improve their own resilience," said Mike Cherry. "That should be supported by bringing flood insurance premiums down to an affordable level. Flood risks must also be tackled and defences improved so that businesses have the confidence to remain at the heart of their local communities."

The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report analyses risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change and will inform the UK's second Climate Change Risk Assessment due out in early 2017.

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