Struggling SMEs call for Brexit rethink
Nearly a third of Britain’s SMEs would like the government to rethink its approach to Brexit, according to new research.
More than 1,000 directors and small business owners were quizzed by Hitachi Capital Business Finance on what government actions could assist growth.
Some 31% said that a reversal of the Brexit decision would aid them most, although that figure rose to 36% in Wales and 41% in London.
SMEs in Scotland also focuses on Brexit in 36% of cases, although a clear position on Scottish Independence took precedence for 49% of small business owners.
Strong correlation was noted between a need to reverse the Brexit decision and business outlooks for the next quarter.
Of SMEs predicting a decline in trading or a struggle to survive, 45% wanted the decision reversed, compared to 27% of those predicting growth.
The figures follow similar research from earlier in 2017 when 61% of struggling businesses reported a lack of opportunities, compared to a third of firms expecting growth.
Nearly half of agricultural firms reported a need for favourable trade deals while 37% of those in the manufacturing sector did likewise – both considerably above the average for all sectors of 24%.
SMEs also wanted to see a reduction in red tape – noted by four in ten businesses – while 35% said taxes should be lowered to aid growth.
Cutting red tape was seen as a top three wish for every sector questioned, although it was highest in the agricultural sector where seven in ten business owners listed it as a priority.
The research states that SMEs want to have a strong working relationship with Europe, particularly among those facing insolvency and an uncertain future.
At times of stress, businesses may wish to use turnaround management services to find new solutions and ways of working that can improve their prospects.
A focus on lower tax rates, business rates and simplified regulation will be among the key issues for SMEs wishing to ensure they remain at the forefront of the UK economy.
By Phil Smith