Funding Circle: UK SMEs set to back Tory leadership
SMALL British businesses are three times more likely to vote Conservative than Labour in the upcoming general election on 8 June, a survey by Funding Circle found.
A vast majority of the 2,300 firms interviewed by the country’s third largest small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) lender are poised to throw their weight behind Theresa May’s party as the best positioned to deliver Brexit, despite half of them opposing the separation from the 28-nation bloc in the referendum last year.
Taxation will be the most closely-watched policy area for 40 per cent of the respondents, with a reduction of business rates listed as the first crucial step they want the next government to take. Brexit came in as the second most important issue to be dealt with by the upcoming government.
The research also confirmed that UK SMEs have quickly shrugged off Brexit-induced economic worries, as seven in 10 firms expect to deliver stronger profits in the next 12 months and only six per cent forecast a drop in turnover over the same period.
They also stand to create up to three million new jobs in the next year, Funding Circle’s survey highlighted, as 55 per cent of them plan to hire at least one new full-time staff member.
“It is heartening to hear that small businesses are optimistic about the next 12 months, despite the uncertainty caused by Brexit and a snap general election,” said the peer-to-peer lending platform’s co-founder and UK managing director James Meekings.
“Future UK prosperity depends on small businesses, as they provide much needed job creation and economic growth. This is why access to finance is crucial.”
The platform has so far channelled £2.2bn of funds to over 23,000 UK SMEs, from 60,000 investors including individuals, local and national government, the European Investment Bank and financial institutions such as pension funds.