Theresa May is ‘failing’ UK entrepreneurs, study finds

Despite recent reports that the UK economy is improving, 68% of business owners feel the current government doesn't support them as entrepreneurs

UK entrepreneurs are being failed by the current government and prime minister Theresa May – that’s according to a new study by Smith & Williamson.

Its Enterprise Index, a quarterly barometer which tests the views of nearly 200 business leaders, has revealed that 68% of respondents feel the current administration doesn’t support their interests as business owners.

With the Conservative party rocked by the hung parliament result in June’s snap general election, that resulted in them signing a minority government deal with the DUP, the uncertain political atmosphere appears to have reverberated around the small business community.

74% of those surveyed stated that political uncertainty is negatively impacting their business, while 59% believe that the impact of Brexit is real.

Not just dismayed about the present, two thirds of business leaders don’t expect the economy to improve over the next 12 months.

However, despite their lack of confidence in the government and ongoing Brexit fears, it seems that many entrepreneurs do have faith in their own business.

A positive 62% of business owners are optimistic about their firm’s prospects over the next year, with 58% even planning to take on more staff and drive recruitment.

Guy Rigby, head of entrepreneurial services at Smith & Williamson, said:

“Businesses are suffering. There was a belief that the government was getting to grips with the scale-up business agenda, and the benefits this offers the economy, but progress appears to have stalled in an uncertain political environment.

“The party conferences have been a mainstay of the newspapers over the past few weeks, but there has been little mention of any plans or support in this core area.

“The introduction of a Scale-Up Champion, a Scale-Up Taskforce and the Patient Capital Review were all positive indicators of a government taking business seriously.

“However, as yet, there have been no meaningful developments for businesses.

“Each individual appointment, or development, seems to be piecemeal and there appears to be no coordinated strategy or plan on how our entrepreneurs can be supported.

“This seems to be left to private sector organisations, such as the ScaleUp Institute, which has limited authority and influence.

“Brexit appears to be all-pervading. This appears to be to the detriment of all other policy and the health of the wider economy.

“We need strong leadership and coordinated activity to rebuild economic confidence.”