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Peer2Peer Finance News | November 21, 2017

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Businesses feel a lack of government support

Businesses feel a lack of government support
Suzie Neuwirth

TWO THIRDS of business leaders say they lack government support, a new survey claims.

The latest enterprise index research by accountancy firm Smith & Williamson questioned nearly 200 business leaders and entrepreneurs about the political climate for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

74 per cent of respondents said that political uncertainty is negatively impacting their business, while nearly two thirds did not expect the economy to improve over the next 12 months.

“Businesses are suffering.  There was a belief that the government was getting to grips with the scale-up business agenda, and the benefits this offers the economy, but progress appears to have stalled in an uncertain political environment,” said Guy Rigby, head of entrepreneurial services at Smith & Williamson.

“The party conferences have been a mainstay of the newspapers over the past few weeks, but there has been little mention of any plans or support in this core area.”

Read more: Growth Street plans to lend £50m to SMEs in the Midlands

Despite their lack of confidence in the government, it seems that many entrepreneurs have a positive outlook when it comes to their own business.

62 per cent of respondents are optimistic about their own prospects over the next 12 months and 58 per cent are planning to hire more staff in the next few months.

“The global economy is experiencing a sustained period of growth,” said Rigby. “However, there are signs that Britain is beginning to lag behind.

Read more: SMEs press pause on growth plans due to Brexit

“While business leaders tend to be a remarkably resilient group, they should take the opportunity of a benign world economy and Sterling weakness to explore export markets.  It may not be for them but no business should overlook such an advantage.

“In addition, businesses should continually be looking at the potential to drive efficiencies.  A prime way of doing this is to embrace the opportunities that tech has to offer.  Big data, AI and the cloud are becoming increasingly accessible to SMEs and it’s vital that a business looking to scale puts themselves in the best possible shape.”

Read more: London’s digital connectivity is holding back SMEs