Barometer view on the Budget - April Survey Findings

Now the dust has settled and the headlines on the ‘granny tax’ and ‘pastygate’ have subsided, businesses are left to ponder the potential impact of the latest Budget on their future fortunes.

The Business Barometer, an internet survey run by the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI), regularly gauges the opinion of small- and medium-sized businesses on the issues most affecting them and provides a snapshot of how they are fairing during these times of austerity.

Despite official confirmation that the UK has entered a ‘double dip’ recession, when the Business Barometer asked firms their opinions on George Osborne’s measures in the most recent survey, most seem relatively sanguine.

The majority of businesses (73%) and business advisors (60%) believe the Budget will have a neutral impact on their affairs. Around one-quarter of advisers thought the impact would be negative compared to 15 % of businesses. Only 12 to 15% of businesses believed the impact would be positive.

Unsurprisingly, when quizzed on the most significant problems facing business, almost half of respondents pointed the finger at current market conditions but access to finance (16% of advisers and 4% of businesses) and Government regulations (10% of respondents) were also name-checked.

Businessman David Leyserman said: “The most significant continuing issue is that customers have reigned back on spending, this has had a negative effect on profits and employers’ willingness and ability to employ people.”

Ian Barlax, of Chadwell Associates Ltd, cited “cuts to Government (central and local) support for industry” as an ongoing problem.

Michael Reid, CEO of Milestone New Product Development Ltd, added that finance was available for new innovation in the UK but believes the system is flawed in two ways.

“The first thing is that private investors are happy to invest in already researched, proven and profitable ‘start-ups’ only and the second is that public money is always contingent on match funding.

“These two factors together in my experience kill 95% of all the good innovation in the UK. Think what the new innovative product scene would look like if that figure was 30%,” he said.

Operating over the web, the results of the survey can be rapidly generated and the surveys have software that enables results to be processed and posted on their respective websites immediately they arrived.

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