British yob culture costs businesses £9.8 billion a year


New research reveals the crippling impact of yob culture on British businesses, which cost £9.8 billion in 2011 and is expected to cost almost a third more this year

  • One in five businesses were impacted by yob culture in 2011, at an average cost of just over £20,000 for each affected business.
  • Large businesses are more affected by yob culture than small businesses.
  • Around a third of businesses in London and Scotland say they have considered relocating because of yob culture.
  • Construction and Transport were the worst affected sectors last year, and Construction expects to be affected badly again this year.

New research released by RSA, the UK’s largest commercial insurer, reveals that yob culture is a growing issue for British businesses, causing losses of £9.8 billion last year alone.  This translates to an average cost of £4,000 for every single business in Britain¹.

The study commissioned by RSA examines the impact of yob culture on UK businesses in 2011, including incidences such as petty theft, broken windows and doors, graffiti, littering and intimidation or harassment.  It also looks at the anticipated impact of yob culture in the UK this year. 

The findings show that 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.  Broken doors and windows and petty theft were said to be the two most common types of yob behaviour experienced, affecting as many as half of all businesses surveyed.  Looking at 2012, 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 – a clear indication that Britain’s yob culture is a growing problem.

Commenting on the findings, Jon Hancock, Managing Director, Commercial at RSA, said: “This research shows that Britain’s yob culture is having a tangible and negative impact on British businesses up and down the country.  Whether it’s petty theft, broken windows, intimidation and harassment or graffiti, honest businesses of all sizes and types right across the country are footing the bill for what is socially unacceptable behaviour.

“The importance of businesses preparing for the risks they face and having the right level of protection in place should not be underestimated.  This research shows that UK businesses expect yob culture to cost them more this year, so I would encourage all employers to carefully consider how they can protect themselves in order to safeguard the future welfare of their business.”

Although yob culture affects all sizes and types of business, 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.

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) and Construction (£40,000). 

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.

To make sure you have the correct level of protection in place for your business, go to or contact your broker.


Media enquiries:
Lucy Hensher
Tel: 020 7337 5385 / 07500 783 550

Notes to Editors:

About the research
This research is based on responses from 1,000 UK business managers from selected industries across England, Scotland and Wales.  It was conducted in January 2012 in collaboration with One Poll. 

¹This is based on Office for National Statistics figures released on 5 October 2011 which show the activity, size and location of UK businesses.  This data confirms that there are 2.46 million businesses in Great Britain, according to a snapshot taken on 28 March 2011.  With a fifth of businesses affected by yob culture, at an average cost of £20,000, that equates to a total cost of £9.8 billion.

For more information, see

Yob culture key findings:


Cost to businesses in 2011 (on average)

Anticipated cost to businesses in 2012 (on average)

Year-on-year difference (%)









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Yorkshire & Humberside








East Midlands




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South East




South West






Cost to businesses in 2011 (on average)

Anticipated cost to businesses in 2012 (on average)

Year-on-year difference (%)





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Finance & Business Services


















About RSA
With a 300 year heritage, RSA is one of the world’s leading multinational quoted insurance groups. It has the capability to write business in over 130 countries and major operations in the UK, Scandinavia, Canada, Ireland, Asia and the Middle East, Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe. Focusing on general insurance, it has around 23,000 employees and, in 2010, its net written premiums were £7.5bn.

Within the UK, RSA is the largest commercial lines insurer, covering the insurance and risk management needs of a significant number of FTSE 100 companies. It has a full multi-distribution capability, writing business through brokers and corporate partners, direct and online. RSA is also one of the UK’s top four personal motor and household insurers.

RSA was the first UK carbon neutral insurer. The company has cut its carbon footprint by half since 2000 and has offset the remainder by purchasing voluntary carbon reductions.


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