PA../12 | June 2012

Businesses outline ‘wish list’ for economic recovery


Businesses have placed easier access to bank loans and Government-funded projects to boost employment at the top of their wish list to tackle the tough current market conditions.


SMEs quizzed by the latest UK Business Barometer UK, run over the internet by the University of Nottingham Institute of Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI), have cited reduced sales, increasing costs, falling customer numbers and political uncertaintly over the Euro as the greatest challenges they are currently facing.


In the latest survey, they were asked to vote on initiatives they believed would give them the best chance of fighting back against the current economic downturn.


Top of the list for more than half of firms (54%) was pressure to require banks to make lending easier, followed by projects to tackle unemployment as highlighted by 46% of respondents. The top five most popular initiatives were rounded off with: lowering VAT (46%); reducing business taxes (41%) and providing government grants for businesses (31%).


The responses from business advisers to the parallel UK Business Advisers Barometer were very similar with the same five initiatives selected in the same order of priority.


Survey respondent Stuart Jones FCA, of 3CA Chartered Accountants, said: “This government (like the last half dozen) has to stop talking about helping small businesses, stop listening to big business and advisors who know nothing about small business and do something to really help small business. Small businesses can generate the sales and the employment. What they lack is the working capital and the encouragement.”


Mike Peat of Unicorn InterGlobal Ltd added: “The ‘create government funded projects to increase employment (e.g infrastructure)’ is the crucial one. We need the infrastructure (roads, rail, airports, fast internet etc), we need jobs, we need the feeling of optimism and above all we need that driver of economic momentum.”


Additional suggestions on strategies for boosting business included regulating the media, pushing money out of the public sector to the private sector making sure it benefitted small businesses (with less than five staff members), making quantitative easing ‘personal’ so it ends up in the economy not bankers’ bonuses, delivering on the promise to reduce red tape and, finally, increasing higher rates of personal tax.


Max Walker of Markwel Associated Ltd explained: “The lack of financial liquidity reduces the ability of businesses to grow, coupled with high business taxes, VAT, Council Tax etc. And increased red tape means that companies, especially small ones, cannot grow and offer the market place variety. More importantly, without growth they cannot take on new staff.”


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


More information about the Business Barometer (UKBB) and UK Business Adviser Barometer (UKBAB), including results and analyses, can be found on the web at www.ukbb.ac and www.ukbab.ac Businesses and advisers wishing to contribute as panellists on the project can register via the websites.


The UK Business Barometer has a group on LinkedIn and can be followed on Twitter @UKBB_UoN


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