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SME staff don't realise the pressure their companies are under

Almost half (48%) of small business owners fear their staff do not understand how serious the recession is and 46% do not think their staff appreciate the pressures their firms are under.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners believe staff's lack of recession experience is an additional challenge to their survival in 2009, according to simplybusiness.co.uk.

If small companies (employing fewer than 20 people) were to fail, it places 475,000 jobs at risk (according to statistics from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform) and would cost the economy £42.5 billion.

Tony Deacon, managing director of simplybusiness.co.uk, said: "Our smallest firms are the backbone of our economy, representing 98% of all UK enterprises and employing over nine million people.

"Our research reveals the critical pressure an alarming number of these firms are under as the recession bites deeper."