North East SMEs warn of World Cup woes

North East businesses fear many employees with be tempted to take unauthorised absences when the World Cup takes place

Spending chiefs have urged the creation of a new £200m fund to help SMEs
45% of SME leaders believe they will be affected by the World Cup

Almost half of SME owners and managers in the North East are concerned that the World Cup will have a negative impact on their business, a recent survey has revealed.

Statistics drawn from the Close Brothers Business Barometer show 45% of SME leaders believe they will be affected, with 20% worried about increased staff absenteeism and a further quarter concerned they will see a drop in productivity during the football tournament this summer.

The survey revealed 48% of local bosses expect to receive special requests for annual leave but found that 57% would be willing to accommodate flexible working hours or shift changes to allow staff to watch games.

The barometer is a quarterly poll of SME owners and senior management that aims to gauge sentiment on a number of key issues.

Mike Randall, chief executive officer of Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “The tournament is a celebrated global event but it’s understandable that many North East bosses are concerned as it comes at a time when many are just starting to experience growth. With the competition taking place in Brazil, many matches will be televised late and as a result, some fans may be tempted to take unauthorised absences. Relaxed licensing laws for England games will allow bars to stay open later and this will have an impact felt by small businesses.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer