Bosses Reject Large Infrastructure Projects In Favour Of Local Road Investment
Only 22% of small businesses think that the Government is doing enough to fuel economic growth in their region, according to a new report by national law firm Irwin Mitchell.
The YouGov research, which was carried out as part of Irwin Mitchell’s ‘UK Powerhouse’ report with the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr), found that smaller firms were far less enthusiastic about the Government’s policy compared to their larger counterparts. Compared to less than a quarter of small firms which thought that the Government was doing enough, the survey revealed that 37% of medium-sized firms and 41% of larger firms were supportive of the Government’s current policy towards boosting economic growth.
Despite a number of recent announcements by the Chancellor George Osborne ahead of and during the Conservative Party’s annual conference, smaller businesses also appear to be far less interested in the current drive towards the devolution of powers to local authorities. Just over 40% of small firms say that greater devolution will have a beneficial impact on their region’s economy, however the figure is for large businesses is much higher at 53%.
When asked which policy or function small businesses thought would be most beneficial to their company, 60% of small enterprises want an increase in transport and infrastructure funding. Over half (52%) wanted to be able to determine business rates and almost a third of them said that they would like the ability to search the local minimum/living wage.
When asked what they thought was the number one priority for their region’s economy, the most popular answer was investment in local road infrastructure. Seventeen per cent said that this was most important, followed closely by an investment in telecommunications (16%).
Interestingly, only 3% called for increased investment in national rail infrastructure schemes such as HS2. This was almost half the proportion of medium and large companies. One in 10 called for greater funding and 8% said that they would like to see changes to the local education system.
Steve Beahan, Partner at Irwin Mitchell and a specialist in the SME sector, said:
Expert Opinion“Clearly the Government needs to listen and engage with the needs of small companies more than it currently does. We found that 22% of small companies thought that the Government wasn’t helping to boost their local economy and when we looked at businesses in their first year lf trading, the figure was even lower. Many of these enterprises are the big job creating companies of the future and it is vital that more is done to assist them.
“We support the intention of a more balanced UK economy and believe that it is vital that the concerns of small companies are listened to in order to ensure that it becomes a reality.”
Steven Beahan - Partner
Irwin Mitchell’s ‘UK Powerhouse’ report has been produced by leading think tank Cebr and analyses the Government’s current policies designed to rebalance the economy.