Cutting red tape should be the most important business priority for the government, according to small and medium-sized enterprise owners.
Cutting red tape should be the most important business priority for the government, according to small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners.
This ranks more highly than improving access to finance (54 per cent) and reviewing employment legislation (36 per cent) in the list of top three SME priorities, finds research from insurer Zurich.
The desire for cutting red tape rises to 76 per cent among companies in the North of England and 74 per cent in the Midlands.
In London the figure is 60 per cent, which while below average, still ranks as a top priority.
By sector, manufacturing companies put the greatest emphasis on the reduction of red tape (86 per cent) with construction (75 per cent) and financial services (67 per cent) sectors closely following.
When senior SME decision makers were asked to rank their top three regulatory challenges, employment regulations topped the list (37 per cent), followed by health and safety (28 per cent) and pensions (21 per cent).
The concern with employment regulations is also reiterated by the fact that almost one in five (17 per cent) small businesses view employment tribunals and legal proceedings as a significant business threat.
Richard Coleman, director of SME at Zurich says, 'Ensuring that Britain has the most accommodating regulatory environment for small businesses is obviously essential to helping SMEs grow, prosper and attract further investment at home in the UK and from abroad.
'While most businesses would accept there’s a vital need for regulation in areas such as health and safety, UK SMEs are clearly looking for simplification to focus on what they do best – fuelling economic growth. The fact that SMEs tell us this concerns them more than access to finance is a clear indicator that they still feel over-burdened by red tape.'