Firms urging red tape cutBy Paul Robins
November 04, 2008
A survey of small and medium businesses in Reading West calls for less red tape and fewer regulations.
The survey was carried out by Conservative Party hopeful for the Reading West constituency Alok Sharma.
Business owners and managers were also asked to assess the Government’s willingness, through its current policies, to assist small and medium sized businesses and also assess the future prospects for their own company.
He received responses from 49 businesses employing more than 50 people and operating across a range of sectors including manufacturing, business-to-business services, retail, business-to-consumer services and leisure.
The key findings of the survey were as follows:
- 90 per cent of companies feel that the policies being followed by the current Government do not make it easy for businesses to invest and grow.
- 70 per cent of company owners and managers want to see a reduction in Government red tape which is holding back small and medium-sized businesses from growing and creating more employment.
- Compared to 12 months ago, 78 per cent of business owners feel less or much less positive today about the future prospects for their business.
- More than 70 per cent of businesses want to see changes in current health and safety regulations which they consider to be overly burdensome.
- More than 50 per cent want to see an immediate reduction in business rates.
- 30 per cent want to see a reduction in National Insurance contributions.
Mr Sharma said: “The results of this survey clearly demonstrate that many small and medium-sized businesses in Reading and West Berkshire have no confidence in the Labour Government’s ability to understand and react to the very real problems facing our SMEs in a deteriorating economic climate.
“Small and medium-sized businesses, which employ around 13 million people across the UK, are the very life blood of local communities and local economies and the Government must do everything it can to help them to survive and maintain jobs as we enter increasingly choppy economic waters in this country.
“The Conservative Party has already called on the Government to allow small and medium-sized businesses to defer their VAT bills for up to six months.
“We have also proposed that small businesses with less than five employees should have the rate of employers’ National Insurance they pay cut by 1p for at least the next six months and backed the call to scrap the proposed rise in corporation tax for small businesses.
“These are concrete proposals which, if implemented, will help our local businesses in Reading immediately.”
He continued: “Based on the feedback from this survey I will be writing to Alistair Darling and making clear to him the strength of feeling amongst many local businesses in Reading that the Government is just not doing enough to help them – the business environment is going to get tougher and our local businesses need assistance right now in order to be in a position to weather the economic storm successfully.”