Ahead of the Spring Budget, new data from SME funder Bibby Financial Services (BFS) reveals that small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) have lost confidence in the Government’s commitment to support them.
In a survey of 500 SMEs from across the UK, four in five (80%) of respondents said they don’t think the government is providing enough support for SMEs.
Meanwhile, two-thirds (67%) are not confident that the Chancellor’s Spring Budget will deliver the support their business needs. This figure shows a decline in businesses’ confidence in the Government since Autumn 2022, when 62% of small to medium sized businesses reported that they were not confident that the Autumn Budget would deliver the support they needed.
Notably female business leaders feel less supported by the government than their male counterparts. 85% of female respondents don’t think the government is providing enough support for SMEs, compared to 77% male respondents, whilst 72% of female respondents are not confident that the Chancellor’s Spring Budget will deliver the support their business needs, compared to 62% of male respondents.
Jonathan Andrew (pictured), CEO of Bibby Financial Services commented: “The UK’s small to medium-sized businesses have demonstrated incredible resilience over the past few months and years. Hit with crisis after crisis, SMEs have tenaciously adapted and evolved in any way they can to survive. But the difficult economic conditions have played havoc with their ability and desire to invest in innovation and growth.
“SMEs feel underrated, undervalued, under-supported. So, in this budget, we want to see better support and policy that matches SME’s resilience and ambition.
“First, education is key. Government should help to guide businesses to existing resources and initiatives that are currently underutilised, such as the Bank Referral Scheme. Second, the Government could take more effective steps to alleviate the burden for hardworking small businesses by pulling the levers of central and local taxation, such as business rates, and by extending the pay-back period on covid loans.”
“As the Government ‘goes for growth’, those SMEs that are sufficiently equipped to build resilience and invest in their futures will play a vital role in driving the UK’s economic recovery.”