The £593 million Christmas lunch

Bosses at small and medium-sized businesses will be spending £593 million on staff Christmas lunches in the next month.

Bosses at small and medium-sized West Midlands companies are among the most generous when it comes to the staff Christmas party
Bosses at small and medium-sized West Midlands companies are among the most generous when it comes to the staff Christmas party

Whether employees are in for a festive feast or an early Ebenezer Christmas Carol depends on where they are based and the sector they work in.

But West Midlands workers are among the lucky ones. Bosses at SMEs in the region are among the most generous in the country, spending around £40 a head.

That makes them the third biggest spenders in the country – London bosses are the biggest spenders on lavish lunches at almost £53 a head, while Scrooges in Wales spend the least: £27.76.

After a year when small businesses have defied the Brexit-infused market uncertainty – with around 40 per cent of decision makers consistently predicting growing through the year - the new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance asked SME bosses what they planned to spend per head on this year’s staff Christmas lunch.

SME chiefs in the media and financial services sectors are budgeting to spend the most. Budgeting more than £50 a head for the work Christmas lunch, this is twice as much as the sectors with the lowest planned spend – agriculture (£27.97) and education (£21.31), where festive celebrations will be more frugal. In fitting style, the hospitality sector set the benchmark, with a measured budgeted spend per head that was closest to the national average (£40).

Whilst seven in 10 small businesses will be celebrating Christmas with a staff gathering – not everyone is planning a traditional lunch. In fact 44 per cent are opting to cast aside the turkey, party hats and annoying cracker jokes and opt for something quite different.

One in ten will be off down the pub, while another one in 10 are closing the office for a fun day trip. For one per cent of firms, their idea of fun is a team trip to the local McDonalds or KFC.

Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, said: “It’s great to see that despite all the doom and gloom of the last year, small businesses are spreading the Christmas spirit and showing appreciation for their colleagues by throwing a party for everyone to enjoy.

"And small businesses do have a reason to celebrate.

"It is many of the UK’s smallest and youngest enterprises that have met 2017’s uncertainty with optimism and bulldog determination. Small businesses have also been crucial in job creation, as around two in five have planned growth throughout the year and to hire new staff.

"Our nation’s small business community has reason to celebrate with its most important asset – its people - and the spending power behind these festival celebrations, in whatever form they come, will also make a positive contribution to the economy during the final weeks of the year.”

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