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British SMEs unclear about what the general election could mean for them

At a glance

  • A new Zurich study shows the strong interest from SMEs on how the general election will affect their business
  • Most SMEs will consider their business interests when deciding how to vote
  • SMES have strong opinions on an EU exit and its possible economic impact

The overwhelming majority (89%) of SMEs are interested in what the general election could mean for their business, according to Zurich’s SME Risk Index, but opinion is divided about the potential consequences.

One in five (21%) SME decision makers surveyed predict the outcome of the election will be positive for their business, but 27% think it will have no impact, and 40% say they don’t know. Just 12% are worried that the outcome will be negative for them.

Most SMEs will vote with a business head, with 59% of decision makers who plan to vote saying they will take the interests of their business into consideration when voting. Furthermore, 48% plan to learn more about the impact of individual party policies on their business before deciding who to vote for.

Decision makers from small and medium businesses are more certain of their opinions about an EU Referendum. More than half (54%) of SMEs think an EU exit would damage the UK economy. The same amount (54%) of SMEs would like to see us remain in the EU, and only one third (33%) would like to see an EU exit.

There is also a lack of consensus amongst SMEs about whether the coalition government has been positive for their business. 38% of those surveyed say the coalition has been positive, 32% say it has had no impact and one quarter (26%) say it has been negative.

SMEs are calling for the next government to ease the effects of increased regulation on their businesses. 43% of respondents would like to see the next government cut legislation and red-tape as the top priority for SMEs in the UK, while 18% prioritised the tackling of late payment terms, and 14% cite better access to finance as their top priority.

While Britain’s businesses are currently unsure about what the effects of the election itself could be, they have strong views on an EU exit.”

Jason Eatock, Head of SME at Zurich

Jason Eatock, Head of SME at Zurich, says: “Two months ahead of the general election, we wanted to take the temperature of SME attitudes towards the changing political situation and how it could affect them. Interestingly, while Britain’s businesses are currently unsure about what the effects of the election itself could be, they have strong views on an EU exit and its effects on the wider economy.

“Cutting legislation and red-tape is still the number one priority for UK SMEs, significantly ahead of other key issues such as late payment terms and access to finance. We hope that the post-election government, whoever they may be, will go some way towards easing the regulatory burden businesses face.”

These statistics are taken from Zurich’s quarterly SME Risk Index covering the period October to December 2014.

Image © Getty

Leave a comment

Paul Parello

April 23rd, 2015 at 4:48pm

I agree with the comments surrounding SME`s. There is too much red-tape and an ever increasing burden of regulation. We need a definitive directive from government as to how they plan on reducing this burden and help the SME sector to un-shackle this tide of over expensive burden.Businesses thrive through innovation not regulation!