A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) concludes that unless small firms are able to cut through the bureaucracy, planning will remain another significant barrier to the country’s economic growth.
“Small firms might only want to make minor changes to their business, but with banks still not lending and contracts still being paid late, it all adds up and prevents small businesses from growing and so too the country,” says the report.
Statistics from the FSB show that in a poll of 1,700 SMEs, more than half find planning applications overly complex, and two-fifths find the process too costly.
Just over half (53 per cent) of small firms that have applied for planning permission over the past two years said that the rules and process were overly complex, and 38 per cent said that the process had higher costs than they had anticipated.
“Providing a fast track for small business planning applications, that make it cheaper and easier, would provide the incentives they need to grow their businesses,” says John Walker, chairman of the FSB.
“The government is going through huge changes with planning at the moment, so it’s vital the small business voice is heard.”