By Daniel Hunter
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are feeling less confident about their future under the new Conservative government, according to a new study.
The poll of 1000 SMEs conducted by small business funder Liberis found that 40% feel less confident about their business’ future since the election, compared to just over a quarter (26%) who now feel more confident; 34% feel the same as before.
When questioned on the government’s election promises to small businesses, 43% of SMEs said they aren't confident they will be kept, compared to 30% who are. Twenty seven per cent are undecided.
There’s a lack of confidence that access to finance will be made easier too, with over four in ten (44%) not convinced it will happen, compared to 29% who think the government will make it easier for small businesses to get funding.
Of the government’s small business manifesto, small businesses think that the top three most important and beneficial promises to them are:
• a review of business rates
• to cut red tape
• to review the disadvantages faced by the self-employed including accessing maternity pay and building up pensions
However, over a third of respondents (38%) felt that the new government’s manifesto did not cover the key issues facing small businesses, whilst 34% did.
Nearly a quarter (24%) also said they had held off making key business decisions until after the election, primarily around capital investment in stock and equipment (48%) and taking on more staff (40%).
Liberis CEO Paul Mildenstein said: “Despite a majority win, there’s still plenty of work needed to gain the confidence of small businesses. Last week’s announcement of a new Enterprise Bill is a welcome start, but small businesses will need to see the detail, a plan of action and a delivery timetable of all the support promised pre-election.”