SMEs Not Impressed By Politics
More than 2 in 5 small business owners believe that none of the UK’s political parties understand their needs, according to research carried out by YouGov on behalf of online accounting provider, FreeAgent.
A poll of more than 500 people who run small businesses with five or fewer employees revealed that 42% of respondents felt that no UK political party understands the needs of the small business sector. In contrast, only 25% of people felt that the Conservative party understood small business needs while 9% felt UKIP was the most understanding party. Just 9% felt that Labour was the most understanding and just 3% believed that the Liberal Democrats were most supportive of the small business sector.
There is an interesting correlation between the stats from FreeAgent and the results of a PCG member survey from 2009. When asked which party PCG members believed to be best for understanding the needs of freelancers 53% backed the Conservatives and just 1% backed Labour. The Lib Dems received 8% of the vote while ‘other’ which likely included UKIP among others, scored 6%.
It seems the Conservatives are finding it almost as difficult as Labour to get small businesses onside while in Government. This is sure to come as unwelcome news for a party which has historically counted entrepreneurs and freelancers as core among its supporters and perhaps evidence that the introduction of red tape to the freelance sector seen over the past year has not gone unnoticed by the voting public.
Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “I hope that the Government takes heed of this and uses the forthcoming Budget as an opportunity to address some of the issues currently facing small business owners in the UK - such as the complicated tax structure and the difficulty that many of them face in securing the funds they need to grow their businesses.”
“The small businesses sector is vital to the UK’s overall economy and important for all political parties to commit to nurturing these businesses, providing them with support and helping them grow. Starting your own business can be a terrifying prospect, so I hope the Government looks at how it can make it easier for people to get their business ideas off the ground and turn them into successes.”
Word is that PCG will be running a fresh member survey following the Budget on Wednesday to find out if Osborne’s latest plans for the economy have done anything to turn the tide of political opinion among the UK’s smallest businesses. There would have to be some serious surprises in the Chancellor’s battered red briefcase for that to happen...