Red tape
Red tape is the most pressing issue currently facing British small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to research from Zurich.

More than half (51%) of SME decision makers said they would address the volume of red tape if they were appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer for the day, suggesting it's the greatest roadblock to business growth.

A third (33%) of SMEs said they would change the current VAT limit and just over a quarter (27%) would better regulate late payments. Also high on the priority list was financial support, with over one in five (23%) saying they would increase funding to support their fellow SMEs.

Despite what appear to be hard times for SMEs, decision makers have demonstrated a strong sense of community in the sector. Given the chance, more than four in every five (82%) decision makers would take measures to help other SMEs if they were appointed Chancellor.

Jason Eatock, head of SMEs at Zurch, said: "SMEs are clearly feeling the strain, with almost half of decision makers in the sector calling on the Chancellor to address red tape and business taxes at this week's Autumn Statement. Our research shows that these are the greatest factors inhibiting growth among SMEs. Given the importance of SMEs to the success of the UK economy, this could be a major roadblock to safeguarding the nation's long-term economic health.

"An encouraging trend we can take from our research is the camaraderie that still exists among SMEs. With more than four in five decision makers stating they would take measures to help other SMEs, there is a real sense of togetherness and community among small and medium-sized businesses which will only serve to aid the success of the sector."