13th January 2015

UK Small and Medium Business Success May Be Stifled by Skills Shortage and Red Tape

Report reveals barriers facing success of UK SMEs.

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UK Small and Medium Business Success May Be Stifled by Skills Shortage and Red Tape

With 2015 on the horizon, research commissioned by npower has today revealed that small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are confident about their business and the economy.

The research of 1,008 SME senior decision makers, in the Manufacturing, Retail, Leisure & Hospitality and Business Services sectors in Britain, showed 50 per cent of those surveyed expect to see an increase in business turnover during the next 12 months, while 46 per cent are confident their business would be able to recruit people with the right skill set during the same period, assuming they were able to pay market rate or above.

However the research did reveal fears over the amount of red tape and taxes imposed upon SME businesses (32 per cent), as well as concerns over the availability of credit and skills, with 49 per cent of businesses worried that tough legislation and regulation will hamper their ability to grow in the next 12 months, potentially putting the brakes on the success of small businesses just as things are looking up.

The study stressed that whilst SME headcount is expected to increase (21 per cent stated this), 28 per cent of SME decision makers are concerned about recruiting talented staff with the right skills. Other barriers to future growth include lack of bank lending, cited by 47 per cent.

The research also highlighted that whilst SMEs are considering the short term success of their business, the long term succession plan is becoming a thing of the past with a staggering 71 per cent of those surveyed saying their businesses have no succession plan in place.

Jason Scagell, Director of npower Business at npower, said: “While we’ve seen a clear acknowledgement of the contribution that SMEs make to UK plc in the recent Autumn Statement as well as through initiatives like Small Business Saturday, this study highlights that there is still some way to go before SMEs can honestly say that they are performing at the level they would like. These businesses are often described as the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s obviously vital that they get the support they need to develop and grow.”

npower Business customer Chris Simmons, Owner of Chase Golf Club (which includes a Par 72 course, gym, spa, restaurant and pro golf shop), said: “We work hard to ensure that we are continually planning for the future. Whilst the UK is out of recession, as a small to medium sized business owner there are many areas where we are still feeling the pinch – from tax to staff salaries. As we approach 2015, I believe it will be the job of both the Government and larger businesses to ensure that they are doing all they can to support businesses like mine in the UK, by taking steps to reduce the barriers to growth such as red tape and lack of bank lending.”

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