Britain’s business leaders call for infrastructure investment

Over three quarters of entrepreneurs believe conditions for growth in UK will continue to improve over the next quarter

Senior business leaders have ranked improved rail, roads and runways first among the primary business issues to be tackled by the new government, according to a report by the Business Growth Fund (BGF).

Of the business owners surveyed in the BGF Growth Climate Index, 25% prioritised physical infrastructure, while 19% called for simpler employment policies and better quality apprenticeships.

More than three quarters (78%) of respondents said they feel that growth conditions will  continue to improve over the next quarter, after a strong start to the year.

The report also indicates that businesses are keen to capitalise on this growth, with 92% of businesses surveyed stating that their peers intend to pursue growth over the next quarter. Sales and marketing, international expansion and attracting investment were cited as areas to focus on to achieve growth.

With continued uncertainty over the UK’s position in Europe, many of the entrepreneurs surveyed called for the matter to be resolved promptly to avoid delayed business decision making.

82% stated that the UK’s membership of the EU is a positive force in British business, with 88% highlighting the importance of the EU export market for growth. 80% also thought that another Scottish Independence referendum would be bad for business in the UK.

Stephen Welton, BGF chief executive, commented: “Small and mid-sized businesses are the backbone of our economy – we need to listen to their needs to create a strong growth environment.

“British businesses need to focus on doing what they do best – innovating, exporting and being as ambitious as they can be. This poll exclusively sought the views of senior business people, who are committed to, and passionate about, supporting Britain’s most ambitious small and mid-sized businesses.

“Entrepreneurs are more confident about pursuing long-term growth in the UK, rather than selling out early.”

Judith Pilkington, chair of Moda in Pelle and former CEO of Space NK – who participated in the survey – added:

“The external conditions for long-term sustainable growth have markedly improved over the past 10 years, perhaps for the first time in a generation. Happily, this is pushing businesses to be more ambitious.”


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