UK economy holding back SMEs

The UK economy is preventing six out of ten small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from achieving their growth potential, new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has indicated.

In its Voice of Small Business Survey, which questioned 11,000 of its members, over half of SMEs wanted to see growth over the coming 12 months - 43 per cent moderately and 11 per cent rapidly.

However, the FSB found that two thirds of businesses could not achieve this, citing the struggling UK economy as the biggest factor, followed by 36 per cent who said that employment taxes and red tape hindered development. Insufficient broadband and recruitment training were also quoted as impeding factors, with 16 and 13 per cent respectively.

The FSB is now calling on the Government to take action to help SMEs who are keen to increase their client base, online presence and staff over the next few years.

It has suggested a clear commitment to delivering fast broadband across the whole of the UK and to be 'bolder in its changes to existing employment law to incentivise employment'. It also argues that access to Government grants and finance for SMEs should be made easier.

John Walker, FSB's national chairman, says: "With businesses confidence at a low, it is not surprising that the state of the economy is seen as the biggest obstacle to achieving growth over the next 12 months. The government must take some big leaps and introduce bold measures to drive growth.

"Small businesses are committed and resilient, but they now need the government to match their ambition for growth."