FSB: Tube strike cost small businesses £600 million 

The London underground strikes in early February cost London small businesses £600 million in lost working hours, business and productivity, research finds.

As London gears up for another strike, due to start at 21:00 on Tuesday 11 February, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals London companies negatively affected by the strikes lost an average of £1,297 each, according to a snap poll of its members.

In London, 58 per cent of the lobbying group’s members were negatively affected by the shut down with most saying cancelled meetings (59 per cent), staff absences (43 per cent) and difficulty transporting goods and services (18 per cent) were the main problems.

However, many businesses also reveal that a loss of demand for goods and fewer customers also caused problems.

And, although the underground strike was contained in London, FSB members in the South East were also negatively affected (21 per cent) with cancelled meetings being the main problem for almost two thirds of firms (61 per cent) in the region.

The FSB is concerned that even though confidence and optimism is picking up across small businesses, the strikes will have a negative effect on productivity and could impact a business’s relationship with its clients.

FSB national chairman John Allan says, ‘The capital is bracing itself for more disruption this week as another round of strikes is due to take place. With small firms estimating a cost of £600 million across the capital, they are rightly concerned about the impact a second round would have.

‘And, as the ripples could be felt outside London, the economy just can’t afford that right now. We would encourage businesses to look at contingency plans for the next planned action. Ultimately, those businesses where staff and customers rely on the tube could be put at a further disadvantage.’

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