A third of SMEs believe government won't help them to grow

29% of UK SMEs do not believe that Theresa May's government, which failed to win a majority in the 2017 General Election on 8 June, will do anything in the near future to help fuel their growth, according to new research

The survey, from Hitachi Capital Business Finance, was based on responses from more than 1,200 business owners and company directors nationwide. Of those respondents who expected tough times in the next six months, 38% held some faith in a reversal of the UK's decision to leave the EU, rising to 41% among the SMEs that admitted they were struggling to survive.

Only 12% of the same group of respondents believed that Theresa May's government will deliver strong leadership on managing the UK's exit from the EU. However, better feedback came from those SMEs who are anticipating growth, with 29% believing that the Prime Minister and her government will deliver strong leadership on managing Brexit.

Across most sectors and regions, key demands to government from SME respondents included a further reduction of red tape (28%) and lower taxes (24%), while the top priority for Scottish SMEs was a clear and final position on independence, with a third of respondents in Scotland believing the recently elected UK government could deliver this.

Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance said: "These findings should be considered in the context that SME confidence levels pre- and post-election remained broadly the same. Small businesses don't depend solely on the actions of the government to achieve growth, rather it's one of numerous external factors to which they constantly adjust and adapt.

"Clearly Europe remains a top priority to a greater or lesser extent for all SMEs, and many will be particularly sensitive to how the [Brexit] negotiations are handled."

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