Christmas still on despite the crunch

Christmas festivities are surviving the credit crunch despite small businesses cutting back on office expenditure in a bid to cut costs, according to a study released today by O2.

Feedback from 500 small businesses questioned across the UK revealed that over half (52 per cent) are celebrating Christmas with a party. It represents a drop of just 5 per cent compared to last year, despite over seven out of ten (77 per cent) bosses revealing they had introduced a wave of cut backs around the office. Over two thirds (69 per cent) of businesses questioned revealed they had not cut the budget at all compared to last Christmas. Over a quarter (25 per cent) are planning on spending up to £1,000 on the party and nearly a fifth (17 per cent) have a budget of £2,000 to spend.

The findings reveal reluctance amongst bosses to cut entertainment budgets despite slashing other costs around the office. Rationing paper and stationery was cited as amongst the most popular cost cutting measures with over half of bosses encouraging staff to print less and over one third (33 per cent) revealing they had limited stationary orders.

Four out of ten staff questioned revealed that they had stopped claiming cabs, with bosses only paying for travel expenses incurred on public transport. 14 per cent revealed that they have been restricted from making personal calls from work telephones.

Staff training courses have also been limited by 16 per cent of the small businesses questioned. Fewer than a quarter (24 per cent) of the small businesses questioned revealed they had not been subject to any cost cutting measures.

Simon Devonshire, Head of small business marketing, O2, comments: “During these tough economic times we can really see what small businesses value through where they are making cuts. From an O2 perspective, we are seeing even stronger demand for converged devices like BlackBerry and the iPhone which increase efficiencies and help workers strike a balance between working hard and playing hard, particularly in this Christmas party season.”

Harry Hastings, Ocean Holidays, comments: “The last few months have been pretty tough not only on the figures but also on our staff, but we’ve made it this far and that’s well worth celebrating. Losing customers is going to be what breaks the bank not throwing a Christmas party, although Secret Santa has been limited to a fiver to ease the pressure on the wallet.”

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