In the first survey of small business owners to be conducted since the 2015 UK General Election, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals results from 2,327 small firms.
The FSB research found well over a third (35 per cent) of the businesses questioned wanted a sustained economic recovery to be the top priority for the new Conservative Government in the next parliament.
Gordon Millward, regional chairman of FSB, said: “This response from FSB members shows first and foremost businesses want stability and certainty.
“This requires putting public finances on a sound footing, and then for Ministers to give a comprehensive vision for how they will support enterprise followed by a clear timetable for when they will deliver it.”
Other important priorities for business owners were lowering the cost of doing business and ensuring growth in every nation and region of the UK, not just London and the south east.
When asked what issues they would like the Government to focus on over the next five years, well over half (53 per cent) said they wanted Ministers to reduce the regulatory burden on business, with simplification of the tax system a close second on 51 per cent.
Business owners were also clear that reforming business rates and improving the employability of young people were important benchmarks for the next five years.
As part of the survey, FSB members were also asked to say how confident they are the new Government will deliver for small businesses. Many appeared positive with half (51 per cent) saying they are either confident or very confident.
However, with over a quarter (28 per cent) claiming to be either unconfident or very unconfident, Ministers will have to move quickly to demonstrate that they will truly do all they can to back small business.
Mr Millward added: “Today’s wide ranging research sends a very clear message on what small businesses want from the new Government – a supportive, light touch tax and regulatory environment in which to grow their business, creating prosperity and jobs.
“Over the five years of this Parliament, our member’s top priorities are to lighten the burdens of regulation and tax, reform broken business rates, support the development and skills of young people, and improve broadband and mobile connectivity.
“We look forward to meeting with Ministers to discuss how we can help make this happen and continue to foster the economic conditions which allow enterprise to flourish.”
Top ten issues small businesses want new Government to focus on in next five years:
- Reduce regulatory burden (53 per cent)
- Introduce a more simplified tax system (51 per cent)
- Reform business rates (44 per cent)
- Improve the employability skills of young people (41 per cent)
- Deliver improved broadband / mobile connectivity (39 per cent)
- Help UK small businesses to create more jobs (34 per cent)
- Tackle late payments (33 per cent)
- Lower energy costs for businesses (30 per cent)
- Ensure better access to finance (28 per cent)
- Increase investment in infrastructure (26 per cent)
Further details on what FSB would like from the 2015-20 Government can be found in its Business Manifesto and on the www.ibacksmallbusiness.com/ website.