UK small businesses increasingly concerned that skills shortage and red tape will hamper growth

Despite fears, 50% of small firms expect to see increase in turnover over next 12 months

UK businesses are becoming increasingly concerned with the impact that red tape and the availability of skilled workers has on their growth, according to new findings from npower.

A survey of the economic confidence of over 1,000 small and medium firms, the study  reported that 49% of small and medium enterprises are worried that regulation and taxes will hamper their ability to grow over the next 12 months, while a third of those surveyed are were worried that the skills shortage will  lead to stagnation.

Lack of access to bank lending was also listed as a major worry by 47% of respondents.

Despite the number of businesses expressing concerns, 50% of business owners questioned said they expect to see company revenues increase over the next 12 months.

Rather alarmingly, the research also highlighted a decrease in succession planning with only 29% of small firms said to have a long-term business plan in place.

Npower business director, Jason Scagell, said of the findings:

“While we’ve seen a clear acknowledgement of the contribution that small and medium firms make to UK plc in the recent Autumn Statement as well as through initiatives like Small Business Saturday, this study highlights that there is still some way to go before small and medium enterprises can honestly say that they are performing at the level they would like.

“These businesses are often described as the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s obviously vital that they get the support they need to develop and grow.”

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