By Daniel Hunter

Business owners don't believe that small businesses are high enough on the political agenda with just nine days until the general election, according to the Bank of Cyprus UK.

The bank's research found that 40% of owner managed businesses (OMBs) think small businesses receive until of the limelight during an election campaign.

More than half (51%) of OMBs believe that although politicians consider the issues affecting small businesses, it is not a top political priority. Less than 10% of respondents believed that the needs of small businesses are a top political priority for all parties.

The Bank of Cyprus UK also revealed that small businesses are keen to pay higher wages to employees but feel that they need help from the Government. When asked what they would like to see the next Government do in order to better support their business, almost four in 10 (39%) small businesses requested tax breaks to enable them to pay the living wage. This wish comes as a quarter of OMBs say that they plan to increase staffing levels in the next 12 months.

Tony Leahy of Bank of Cyprus UK said: “With just eight days until the General Election, the economy and job security will no doubt play a leading role in voter’s considerations. The major political parties should therefore find it concerning that less than one in 10 small businesses feel that their issues are a significant priority for politicians.

“Small businesses face the most pressure when it comes to paying higher wages for employees but our research has shown that paying a living wage is an important consideration for them. With so much electioneering around support for “hard-working people”, it is clear that the new Government needs to help small business make this reality.”

A separate study by money saving experts found that 93% of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners intend to vote, and as many as 98% in some regions.