I issued the following press release on 2.02.2007
LYNNE JONES MP URGES SMALL BUSINESSES TO PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED
Local MP Lynne Jones has urged small businesses in the region to
ensure they can survive in the event of an emergency.
The calls follow new independent research, commissioned by the
British Insurance Brokers Association (BIBA), which reveals that millions of small
and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK are failing to protect themselves and
their employees in the event of emergencies such as fire, flood or an act of terrorism.
Lynne Jones has joined politicians from across the political divide,
who are supporting a high profile campaign, launched by BIBA, to encourage SMEs to get
serious about business continuity, the practice of ensuring that businesses are protected
in the event of an emergency. The campaign is also being backed by the Federation of Small
Government figures suggest nearly one in five businesses suffers a
major disruption every year. Further research suggests 80% of businesses affected by a
major incident close down within 18 months, and 90% of those who lose their data are
forced to close down within two years.
Small enterprises in particular suffer severe financial loss if
closures prevent or restrict trading over a period of weeks or even months. In research
conducted by Populus, figures show that alarming numbers of SMEs are not prepared to deal
with sudden crises that jeopardise their business.
Commenting on the figures Dr Jones said:
The SME sector is absolutely vital to the local economy, and it
is imperative that small enterprises take every possible step to ensure that both their
business, and their employees are protected from the unexpected.
In many ways, I operate as a small business myself and my staff
ensure that we make regular backups of computer data and store them away from the office.
I urge small businesses to take every possible step to safeguard
their businesses, and ensure that should the worst happen they will be able to ride out
the storm and begin trading again.
Commenting on the campaign and the new research, Eric Galbraith,
Chief Executive of the British Insurance Brokers Association said:
Our research reveals an incredibly worrying trend amongst the
essential small business sector in the UK. Too many businesses are putting themselves and
their employees futures at risk by failing put in place proper continuity plans
should the unexpected happen.
Every business needs to be properly prepared for a worst case
scenario. Small businesses are vital to the UK economy and we simply cannot afford for
them to be complacent. I urge every business to urgently speak to their broker to ensure
they are properly covered.
Mike Penning MP, Member of Parliament for Hemel Hempstead who has
been supporting constituents impacted as a result of the Buncefield oil depot fire in
December 2005, has been a leading campaigner on the issue. This week he tabled an Early
Day Motion supporting the campaign in Parliament. He commented:
I strongly urge every business to double check that they have
an adequate business continuity plan in place. There is a real threat that your business,
and your employees jobs will be lost if you do not prepare for the unexpected.
Buncefield was a prime example of something that no one
expected causing heartache to thousands. I do not want to see anyone experience the lows
that my constituents did in 2005 and urge all businesses to get serious about business
Commenting on the importance of having a continuity plan in place,
David Croucher, Home Affairs Chairman at the FSB said:
Small businesses are particularly at risk from the impact of an
unexpected event such as a flood or act of terrorism. It is not just the initial impact
that does the damage, it is the period elapsed until the business gets back up and running
again. A long period out of action can spell the end for many small businesses. As a
result, the Federation of Small Businesses urges all firms to plan for the unexpected and
to put in place proper continuity plans to protect their business and employees.
Director of Civil Contingencies Secretariat, Bruce
Mann recommends that all organisations have in place robust, flexible business
continuity management arrangements. He said:
"From the Carlisle floods to the London bombings and the
Buncefield explosion, recent incidents have shown clearly the vast range of impacts
emergencies can have on organisations across all sectors, affecting profits and
operations. This is bad for employees, shareholders, customers and communities.
"Good Business Continuity Management will ensure that the impact
of any emergency on business will be minimised, and should help business recover
Notes to editors:
Populus surveyed the opinions of 250 directors by telephone between
30th October and 7th November 2006, 60% of whom were Managing Directors, 20% Financial
Directors and 20%Senior Directors. 73% worked in companies with less than 50 employees,
14% in companies with 50-99 employees and 13% for companies with between 100 and 250
The findings of the research, completed by Populus, reveal that:
Nearly three quarters of businesses had no plans for dealing with the
resulting impact of acts of terrorism.
Nearly half of businesses had no plans to deal with the impact of
A third of businesses had no plans to deal with the impact of a
storm, while nearly a third only had rough plans.
Only just over a half had plans to deal with the effects that a fire
might have on their business.
Only half had a formal written Business Continuity plan in place.
Half of those questioned believed it would take less than a day for a
serious disruption or disaster to have a significant impact on their business.
The Buncefield oil depot fire of December 2005, for example, left
many small businesses facing ruin. This was not due to the immediate loss of goods and
premises, for which they receive insurance payments, but because their inability to resume
business has led to trading losses way beyond the initial event itself.
Mike Penning MP for Hemel Hempstead has tabled an EDM in support of
the campaign which can be accessed online here:
Businesses can avoid the long-term fall out of an emergency situation
by putting in place a robust Business Continuity Plan linked with Business
Interruption cover, readily available in the market through insurance brokers.
Following an insured loss at the premises it provides:
Protection for reduction in turnover
Cover for additional expenditure such as temporary storage costs or
additional transport costs to enable the business to recover as quickly as possible
To ensure small businesses are properly prepared, brokers take the
following steps to source and advise on the most appropriate cover.
Identify the potential impact of a major loss on the business
Establish how long it would take to recover
Establish how major destruction or damage at a customers or
suppliers premises might affect the business
Establish how destruction or damage at the premises of a public
utilities supplier (gas, water, electricity, telecommunications, internet service
provider) might affect the business
Assess how refused access to the premises following a loss in the
immediate vicinity might impact upon trade
In addition, an insurance broker will advise on the development of a
Business Continuity Plan to enable the business to survive a major disaster.
For more information, or to make an interview request, please contact
the business resilience campaign press office:
Leighann Burtrand: 020 7397 0223 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Thornton: 020 7395 7179 or email@example.com
Sophie Pim: 020 7395 7151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Small businesses concerned about their present cover should visit
BIBAs website: www.biba.org.uk