Articles - British businesses: blighted by yobs

 By Jon Hancock, Managing Director of Commercial Lines at RSA
 The number of critical risks that businesses face every day is growing. Alongside extreme weather, regulatory changes and staffing problems, organisations up and down the country are also experiencing firsthand the impact of Britain’s yob culture. From incidences such as petty theft, broken windows and doors and graffiti, to littering and intimidation or harassment, the financial implications of such behaviour are being keenly felt by businesses of all shapes and sizes every single day.
 As the UK’s largest commercial insurer, RSA is concerned about such risks. That’s why we conducted extensive research to examine the true impact of yob culture on UK businesses in 2011, as well as its anticipated impact this year.
 Our findings are startling. Yob culture cost British businesses a total of £9.8 billion in 2011, and is expected to cost as much as 30 per cent more this year. Put into context, that means almost one in five businesses were impacted by yob culture last year, at an average cost of just over £20,000 for each affected business.
 Businesses tell us that broken doors and windows and petty theft are the two most common types of yob behaviour experienced, affecting as many as half of those surveyed. Looking at this year, 37 per cent of businesses say they expect yob culture to increase as a result of ongoing economic volatility, and employers expect it to cost them more year-on-year at £26,000 on average.
     Region      Cost to businesses in 2011 (on average)      Anticipated cost to businesses in 2012 (on average)      Year-on-year difference (%)
     Scotland      £7,871.61      £26,537.27      +237%
     Wales      £2,297.38      £9,422.26      +310%
     North East      £2,888.00      £7,132.19      +147%
     North West      £8,047.72      £14,176.55      +76%
     Yorkshire & Humberside      £1,988.00      £12,657.48      +537%
     East      £1,100.33      £10,154.21      +823%
     East Midlands      £64,665.08      £65,973.93      +2%
     West Midlands      £79,562.20      £73,746.26      -7%
     London      £13,581.57      £51,369.65      +278%
     South East      £29,600.50      £20,831.96      -30%
     South West      £11,025.50      £63,229.39      +473%
 Although yob culture affects all sizes and types of business, we know from the research that there are significant variations in the scale of its impact. In 2011, yob culture cost large businesses the most at an average of £40,000 and is expected to impact them the greatest again this year at an anticipated cost of £62,000 per business.
     Sector      Cost to businesses in 2011 (on average)      Anticipated cost to businesses in 2012 (on average)
     Year-on-year difference (%)
     Engineering      £692.09      £12,407.83      +169%
     Retail & Hospitality      £6,747.78      £16,935.97      +151%
     Transport      £53,452.90      £19,477.10      -64%
     Construction      £66,169.73      £40,411.10      -39%
     Finance & Business Services      £26,151.24      £52,075.55      +100%
     Utilities      £38,433.00      £65,403.92      +70%
     Agriculture      £12.75      £1,607.36      +12,510%
     Manufacturing      £1,965.50      £1,909.99      +3%
 There are also stark differences between specific sectors. In 2011, Engineering and Utilities were most likely to be affected; however, the cost to business was highest in Construction (£66,000 per business) and Transport (£53,000). This year, businesses expecting to be hardest hit are Utilities (£65,000), Finance & Business Services (£52,000) – which anticipates a 100 per cent year-on-year rise – and Construction (£40,000) once again.
 Looking at the eleven UK regions surveyed, businesses in Scotland were most likely to be affected by yob culture in 2011, at 48 per cent, yet the cost to businesses was highest in the Midlands at over £64,000 in the East Midlands and nearly £80,000 in the West Midlands. In Scotland and London, around a third of businesses say they have even considered relocating as a result of the impact of yob culture.
 The tangible and negative impact of yob culture on British businesses across the country is clear. Whatever format it takes, honest businesses of all sizes and types are footing the bill for what is socially unacceptable behaviour. The importance, therefore, of preparing for the risks businesses may face and having the right level of protection in place should not be underestimated.
 Jon Hancock is Managing Director of Commercial Lines at RSA, the UK’s largest commercial insurer. To find out more about RSA, visit Alternatively, for more information on the yob culture research go to

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