HALF of the businesses surveyed in the north-west have been financially supporting their employees as the cost-of-living crisis continues to put pressure on people and their families, research shows.

Rathbones, an investment management company, conducted research that reported 50 per cent of business owners in the region have provided their employees with regular financial support, while a further 28 per cent gave a one-off lump sum payment to their staff to help with rising costs.

This is despite many businesses, and in particular SMEs, also facing a significant uptick in costs, supply chain issues and the tailing down of the Energy Bills Support Scheme this month.

More widely, Rathbones’ research found that higher earners across the UK (those with over £250k of investable assets) have also been stepping in to support their loved ones.

48 per cent of these in the north-west have helped their children or grandchildren over the last six months with regular financial support for bills, with a further 18 per cent having provided a one-off cash payment. 

Many have also been regularly supporting extended family members such as aunts, uncles, and cousins (38 per cent) and their close friends (24 per cent).

Richard Dawson, regional director at Rathbones, said: “With limited support for SMEs currently available, many could see their costs rise significantly in the coming months.

“SMEs account for 99.9 per cent of the UK business population and play an important role both as an employer across the UK and to our economy.”

Suzanne Caldwell, managing director at Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said there is support for businesses in the county: “We’re definitely getting a really positive response from local employers to the employee benefits package we’ve just launched, which basically enables them to give employees what amounts to a pay rise at no cost to them beyond Chamber membership through vouchers off supermarket shops, and more, enabling significant savings.

“We’ve also been making sure to provide info to employers to help them link employees to available benefits.”