Survey Finds SMEs Disappointed With Government Legislation

New Rules Have Little Positive Impact Say Owners

14.11.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

The majority of microbusiness owners have expressed dissatisfaction with government policies that were supposed to help make running their firms easier.

Simply Business published figures in its Simply Britain Pulse Check showing that every single policy supposed to help them was judged by at least half the 2,000 microbusiness owners and sole traders polled to have made no difference.

In addition, half of them felt no political party understands the needs of microbusinesses and 56 per cent said central and local government bodies are out of touch with their needs.

The report also found 81 per cent believed new policies concerning exports had made no difference to them, with 77 per cent taking the same negative view of new childcare rules and 69 per cent similarly disparaging of updated employment rules.

Many business owners said some policies are actually making matters worse, with red tape listed in this category by 33 per cent, while other common concerns centred on energy prices, overheads and access to financing.

The report was presented by Simply Business at the Simply Britain: Backing Business event in London's City Hall, to which it invited the prime minister's enterprise advisor Lord Young of Graffham to take part in a debate on the best ways to back small firms.

Simply Business chief executive Jason Stockwood described microbusinesses and sole traders as "the very heart of the UK economy" and the most important contributors to economic growth.

However, he said: "These firms are not getting the support they need.

"The government is designing policies according to what it believes small businesses need, but because of the specific set of challenges and risks faced by sole traders and microbusinesses, government support is passing them by."

In June this year, the Queen's Speech announced new legislation - the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill - which the government said will make Britain the best place in the world to start a small business.

Its stated aims included cutting red tape and supporting SMEs in efforts such as accessing finance and exporting.

Expert Opinion
The Government has frequently referred to small and medium-sized enterprises as the lifeblood of the economy and, as a result, it is vital that such organisations get the support they need to thrive and develop in the current economy.

"This poll has raised some concerns from SMEs and will be interesting to if the Government picks up on these specific issues in particular going forward.

"Starting and maintaining a business is incredibly difficult so it is key that such companies always get the support they require."
Steven Beahan, Partner