Business: Debts

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 8th November 2021.

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Photo of Seema Malhotra Seema Malhotra Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the increase in business debt incurred as a result of the covid-19 pandemic (a) by constituency, (b) by region and (c) in England.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

BEIS does not hold data on the total debt incurred by all businesses. However, UK Finance (a trade body for the banking and finance industry) does hold end of year loan balances, both private and government-backed, and overdraft balances for SMEs only and by UK regions. SMEs are defined by UK Finance as those businesses with total annual turnover under £25 million.

The total loan and overdraft balances for all UK businesses, including large businesses, was £279bn in 2018, £270bn in 2019, and £290bn in 2020 – a 3.2% decrease between 2018 and 2019, and 7.3% increase between 2019 and 2020.

Tables 1 & 2 below provide end of year breakdowns of loan and overdraft balances for SMEs only by region for 2018, 2019 and 2020; the most recent data available. Data by constituency is not readily available.

Table 1: Total SMEs end of year loan balance (£ billion & percent change from previous year)

Year

2018

2019

2020

London

£18.5bn

£17.5bn

(-5.4%)

£27.7bn (+58.2%)

South East

£10.5bn

£10.2bn

(-2.1%)

£16.4bn (+59.9%)

South West

£9.6bn

£9.5bn (-1.3%)

£13.1bn (+38.1%)

East Midlands

£4.5bn

£4.4bn (-1.9%)

£6.8bn (+53.4%)

West Midlands

£7.3bn

£7.2bn (-2.4%)

£10.7bn (+49.2%)

East of England

£5.7bn

£5.7bn (-1.0%)

£8.4bn (+47.7%)

Yorkshire & Humber

£5.9bn

£5.7bn (-4.2%)

£8.7bn (+54.6%)

North East

£2.7bn

£2.5bn (-4.8%)

£3.8bn (+51.4%)

North West

£7.9bn

£7.6bn (-4.2%)

£12.2bn (+59.0%)

Wales

£3.7bn

£3.6bn (-4.3%)

£4.9bn (+37.7%)

Scotland

£6.8bn

£6.9bn (+1.5%)

£10.4bn (+50.8%)

Northern Ireland

£6.8bn

£6.5bn (-4.3%)

£7.2bn (+10.8%)

Total

£89.9bn

£87.3bn (-3.0%)

£130.3bn (+49.3%)

Source: UK Finance

Table 2: Total SMEs end of year overdrawn balance (£ billion & percent change from previous year)

Year

2018

2019

2020

London

£1.6bn

£1.4bn (-13.1%)

£0.9bn (-35.9%)

South East

£0.9bn

£0.9bn (-0.4%)

£0.6bn (-40.4%)

South West

£1.0bn

£0.9bn (-6.4%)

£0.6bn (-36.8%)

East Midlands

£0.5bn

£0.5bn (-5.4%)

£0.3bn (-35.8%)

West Midlands

£0.9bn

£0.8bn (-2.5%)

£0.6bn (-29.3%)

East of England

£0.7bn

£0.7bn (-3.3%)

£0.5bn (-32.3%)

Yorkshire & Humber

£0.7bn

£0.7bn (-5.5%)

£0.5bn (35.4%)

North East

£0.3bn

£0.3bn (-0.8%)

£0.2bn (-16.6%)

North West

£0.9bn

£0.8bn (-5.2%)

£0.5bn (-36.3%)

Wales

£0.4bn

£0.4bn (-2.6%)

£0.3bn (-34.4%)

Scotland

£0.9bn

£0.8bn (-6.1%)

£0.6bn (-30.8%)

Northern Ireland

£1.0bn

£0.9bn (-9.3%)

£0.8bn (-17.0%)

Total SMEs

£9.9bn

£9.3bn (-6.1%)

£6.3bn (-32.6%)

Source: UK Finance

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