Councils Must do More to Support Local Businesses
The decisions made by councils are restricting local business growth according to research from ACCA, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.
One in five UK SMEs claim that decisions made by their local councils were having a detrimental impact on their business, with parking and traffic restrictions and procurement of goods and services from out-of-town businesses the most common complaints.
Public urge councils to support SMEs
The failure of councils to help local businesses has not gone unnoticed by the general public. In a survey of 2,000 UK consumers, almost half said that councils should be doing more to help local SMEs, while 27 per cent expressed that they felt councils were actively hindering local SME growth.
Andrew Leck, Head of ACCA UK, said,
“In recent years, the UK public has been encouraged to support British businesses and now the same principle must be applied on a local scale. SMEs make up 99% of all UK organisations, and our research shows that local councils simply cannot afford to ignore the ramifications of their decisions on these local businesses.”
Despite the problems councils pose to small business growth, only 4 per cent of SMEs said they would need to reduce their local presence over the coming year, while 14 per cent of small firms were planning to increase their footprint and 10 percent of small businesses were exploring international trade opportunities.
“It is encouraging to see that small businesses remain positive and are looking for ways to expand and grow in the coming years – both from a local and international perspective. Councils must recognise the role they have to play in local economic development and ensure that all decisions are made with local SMEs in mind so as not to stifle this positivity.”
Access to funding remains restricted
Despite the Government’s push on big UK banks to lend to small businesses, only 3 per cent of SMEs were intending to approach their bank for a loan in the next 12 months.
“Make no mistake – it has become harder to secure funding in recent years, but if an SME needs an injection of cash to survive or expand then they shouldn’t be afraid to ask their bank. Speaking with an accountant or financial adviser is often the best way to identify the best means of funding for your business and how to go about obtaining it.”