The research revealed that 13 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises would like more access to government support. This has more than doubled from 2010, shortly before the General Election, when just six per cent of small firms were calling for more support.
When asked what the Government could do to help businesses, a reduction in VAT from its current 20 per cent to 17.5 per cent was top of the list of SME demands. A third said they were looking to the Government to take action on VAT as a matter of urgency. This is up on the same point in 2010 when just 13 per cent of SMEs were calling for a reduction in VAT.
SMEs are also urging the Government to loosen lending criteria with almost a fifth stating that access to greater credit availability would help firms survive and grow. Meanwhile, 15 per cent of are calling for the interest rate to remain unchanged at their current emergency level of 0.5 per cent, where it has stayed since March 2009.
Edward Rimmer, UK chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, said: “It is clear from our research that SMEs are feeling somewhat marginalised by the Government and would like to see David Cameron and his ministers do more to address their specific needs.
“Smaller firms are the economic engine of the UK that will help drive the economy, create jobs and boost growth. They are a powerful lobby not to be ignored – according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), SMEs employ approximately six in 10 of the private sector workforce comprising some 13.7 million people and contributing more than half of the UK’s turnover.
“Access to flexible funding and a smooth cash flow is absolutely vital if SME firms are to grow and survive, particularly while the economy is still in a volatile state. The Government needs to do more to ensure that SMEs are being given the levels of support they need as well as educating them on all forms of finance available. .
“While initiatives such as the Business Growth Fund which enables banks to take an equity stake of between £2m and £10m in businesses is to be applauded, the fact that it is only available to companies with a minimum turnover of £10m, means that it is out of reach for the majority of smaller firms.
“We will continue to support businesses across the UK but SMEs are still quite rightly calling on the Government to provide more levels of support at a time when they need it the most.”