Small businesses call for government to reduce red tape

Real estate and energy companies believe reducing red tape should be Cameron's top priority, new research has revealed

Over half of Britain’s small businesses have called on the new government to cut red tape as a top priority, according to a study by Lloyds Bank.

When asked what the Conservative’s priorities for small and medium-sized enterprises should be, 51% stated that cutting red tape should be the primary concern, while 42% said there should be better incentives for investment via reduced taxes.

Improving access to the right skills was cited as the next highest priority at 31% to bridge the skills gap through vocational education such as apprenticeships. Tackling late payment and financial advice, and opening up barriers to overseas trade were listed last at 24% and 17% respectively.

By sector, real estate businesses were the most keen to reduce red tape (60%), followed by energy companies (57%). The healthcare sector (41%) and the public sector (45%) – including education and charities – said that improving access to skills was most important.

In May, new business secretary Sajid Javid announced plans to cut red tape for small businesses by at least £10bn over the next five years, as part of the government’s new enterprise bill.

In April the Close Brothers Business Barometer revealed that more than a third of small businesses claimed access to finance was the most important issue for the next government to tackle.

The Business in Britain survey collated the responses of 1,500 firms, 65% of which had an annual turnover below £10m, 10% of between £10m and under £15m, and 26% from businesses with an annual turnover of more than £15m.

Tim Hinton, managing director, mid markets and small business banking at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses have clear views on what the new government’s priorities should be, to help with their growth ambitions.

“Businesses have welcomed the government’s recent commitment to cut red tape, and they recognise it as a priority. However they will want reassurance that their concerns about skills, investment and exports will also be addressed.”

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