Vodafone calls for 5% VAT on cybersecurity products to help SMEs

The Vodafone logo with computer code behind

Vodafone has called on the UK government to reduce the rate of VAT on cybersecurity products to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) gain access to them. According to the firm, the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is currently at risk due to the financial harm that cyberattacks could have on SMEs.

In its report ‘Protecting our SMEs Cybersecurity in the new world of work’, the company found that 1.3 million SMEs would not continue to operate if they were targeted by a cyberattack and another 16% said that a cyberattack would lead to lay-offs. In addition to a cybersecurity VAT decrease, Vodafone said that the government should provide more support for the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) which offers information to the public about digital security. By offering the NCSC more support, Vodafone says that it could create a unit dedicated to SMEs

In the report, Vodafone asked businesses if they would survive a loss of £3,230, which is the average cost of a successful cyberattack; 23% said that they would not survive an attack causing this much financial loss.

Commenting on the report, Vodafone UK’s Business Director Anne Sheehan said:

“Cyber-attacks are an existential threat to Britain’s small businesses, yet nearly a third have no cybersecurity strategy in place. This report’s stark findings are a warning that as SMEs do more and more of their business online, it is vital that they take the steps they need to keep themselves safe – and that Government does more to support them to do so. The UK needs successful, resilient small businesses.”

Over the last 12 month, the report says that cyberattacks against SMEs have been on the increase with 31% of firms noting a rise. Vodafone said 4 in 10 SMEs had been impacted and 20% claimed to have been targeted six or more times.

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