It’s a mixed bag for SMEs this month, as the 2015 Budget brought with it some interesting developments that show the government could be concentrating more on the needs of freelancers and micro-businesses. Additionally, the Tories managed to sway the small business debate, hosted by Enterprise Nation, despite recent reports showing bank lending has worsened under the coalition government.
Tories sway entrepreneurs in small business debate
Almost half of entrepreneurs attending a small business debate, hosted by Enterprise Nation, said they would vote Conservative in the upcoming general election.The audience were polled on their voting intentions before and after the debate. Before, 37% selected Conservative with 30% for Labour, 7% for Lib Dems, 22% undecided, 3% Green and 1% UKIP.The audience were polled again at the end of the 60 minute discussion. 45% said Tory, 31% Labour, 7% Lib Dems, 5% Green, 10% undecided and 2% UKIP.
Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation and chairperson for the debate, said:
“Hopefully the political classes will have learned something from this experience – that small firms are worth listening to, that they are playing an increasingly important role in the electoral process and that by engaging with them, politicians can improve policy – and gain all-important votes.”
Budget offers mixed bag for SMEs
In his sixth Budget speech, Chancellor George Osborne set out to show voters that the economic recovery has benefited them and, for the first time, outlined some reforms that could really change the way self-employed people do business.
Among other changes, the chancellor announced the death of the Self-Assessment, which is to be replaced by a digital system and updated regularly throughout the year rather than in one lump. There will also be better education for SMEs to unlock borrowing potential and grow their businesses more successfully.
Banks remain unsupportive of lending to SMES, particularly under the coalition government, research conducted by eBay has found.65% of those surveyed said banks are not lending as much as they should, and 60% said it’s more difficult to secure credit than it was five years ago. This has an impact on those thinking of starting a business. A government report published last month revealed 69% of would-be entrepreneurs are reluctant to start a business due to financial worries.
In the run up to the general election, the self-employed army really could sway the vote. We want to hear from you. Do you feel supported in your business? Is there still more the government can do to help? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.