Fears over red tape holding back small businesses

Small businesses may be confident in themselves and the economy at the beginning of 2015, but research from npower has revealed a growing number of concerns.


While half of the decision makers questioned in the survey expect turnover to increase in the 12 months ahead, some said legislation and red tape could hinder their progress.


Tax issues and the potential shortage of people with the correct skill sets could restrict future growth at a time when the future appears to look bright.


One fifth of firms expect to hire more staff but 33% said a skills shortage could make it difficult to fill the available positions.


A lack of bank lending was also highlighted by 47% of the decision markers as a concern – such funding is often the driver of growth which would otherwise be difficult to achieve.


In the current economic climate many firms are focusing on the short term as 71% of the companies surveyed had no long term plans in place.


Some revealed that a month-by-month focus was required so that the financial aspects of their businesses could be managed effectively.


For those operating on tight budgets, any delays or cash flow issues could result in much wider problems.


In some cases the firms can even face insolvency as the finances are no longer in place that allows for the continuation of trading.


Late payments from suppliers can increase the pressure faced by these firms, many of whom want easier processes in place to enable them to chase money owed.


Others suggested that the documentation required to meet the various legislation in the UK is taking too long to complete.


In the cases of smaller businesses where staff numbers are lower, this has a negative impact upon the company as staff must focus on the paperwork rather than other aspects of the business.


Given that small businesses in the UK are viewed as the ‘lifeblood’ of the economy, reducing levels of red tape is seen as a vital part of enhancing confidence.


By Phil Smith


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