Most companies believe that the recent changes to government policies will have no positive effect on their business, leaving SMEs to fare for themselves.
The Viking Small Business Barometer survey speaks to the same 1,000 small business owners and managing directors across 15 sectors in the UK every quarter. Last quarter’s research revealed that nearly one in five small business owners admitted to having to sell or remortgage their home in order to gain enough capital to start-up or run a business. In this quarter, the figure has halved.
Perhaps even more worrying is the fact that one in ten respondents say they will have to close down by the end of 2013.
The report reveals findings from a cross-section of sectors including retail, hospitality, automative and professional services. Male business owners aged between 45 and 54 had the strongest feelings about their lack of help from the government. Businesses from the legal sector proved to be the most despondent, 75 per cent of which admitted that the recent changes will do nothing to alleviate the state of their business.
When factoring regional attitudes into the third of businesses that remain unconvinced by these government policies, the 52 per cent which preside in London were the most doubtful.
Regarding the support SMEs have received from the government, 33 per cent of participants highlighted that the cap on fuel duty looks set to have the most encouraging outcome for their businesses. However, greater funding for Local Enterprise Partnerships and in annual investment allowance, were deemed to have no impact at all.
Startup businesses up to three years old – compared to the 39 per cent of longer established businesses – have been found to be the most optimistic, with 78 per cent planning on expanding their business within the next 12 months.
Sean Baily at Viking said that “it’s a tough time for SMEs at the moment and having a substantial support network is essential in unstable economic conditions. Although support comes in many different forms, the issue here is regarding financial support from government policies and evidently this is where SMEs feel let down.”
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