Back of a fag packet
A quick google finds a not-too-outdated estimate that there are 5.2 million businesses in the UK. If we take the article at face value, that would suggest losses of 5.2m * 500k, or 2.6 billion. That being, good British billions, not those US imposters: in US numbers it's 2600 billion. Which is something round about our entire GDP.
Hmmm. Something pretty fundamental is missing - like telling us what they're actually talking about.