Small business optimism in decline



Fewer small business owners are optimistic about their prospects than a year ago, with only one in 10 planning to recruit new staff, according to a new report.

A survey of 3,000 businesses across Europe and the United States, including 500 in the UK, showed that most were still having problems accessing finance despite the introduction of lending schemes.

Finance firm Hiscox said its study showed that those in Britain worked the shortest week at 37.6 hours, compared with an average of over 41 hours.

Small business owners in all the countries wanted tax cuts, simplified accounting rules and increased levels of lending.
The British were the least critical of all six countries of government bureaucracy and labour laws.

Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox, said: "Our research findings support the idea that small businesses are adapting to 'the new normal', anticipating tough trading conditions rather than expecting any early return to the boom years of the last decade.

"They are responding to the changing business environment with determination and inventiveness - launching new products or services that put them ahead of the competition, and investing in training and up-skilling. They also have a clear agenda for government, something policy-makers would be wise to study as they work towards securing a sensible and sustained economic recovery in each of these countries."

© 2013 Press Association