By Max Clarke

Half of senior decision makers in small and medium enterprises (SME) believe Government policies introduced since the 2010 election have been bad for small to medium businesses, an online survey of 500 business owners by YouGov has revealed. 26% of respondents, however, believe the new policies have been good for businesses.

The ‘Big Society’ will make no difference to their business according to exactly half (50%) of SME senior decision makers questioned. Nearly a third (31%) agrees the ‘Big Society’ would be good for small and medium sized businesses and 15% believe it would be bad.

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Senior decision makers were also asked which measures the Government should be concentrating on most to help small and medium sized businesses. The most popular measure for nearly a third of all respondents (31%) was for additional pressure to be placed on banks to make finance more easily available. In order to make credit flow from financial institutions more available to small businesses, the Coalition announced their Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme in 2010. Earlier this month, however, a report indicated that lending had fallen to a record low. Creating a competitive tax regime also proved popular with senior decision makers (28%). 15% would choose to lower VAT and 13% wanted the Government to lower personal income tax. 5% of senior decision makers wanted clearer guidelines on employment, whilst 2% said health and safety regulations.

Nearly three in ten senior decision makers in SMEs (29%) believe the Budget, due to be announced on the 23 March, will have a negative effect on their business. 7% think it will have a positive effect. However, nearly half of senior decision makers (48%) believe the upcoming budget will not make a difference to their business.