As the country begins its relationship with a brand new leader, south-east business owners believe the new Government’s first priority should be to reduce the deficit, according to the findings of a recent survey.
The survey, carried out by Weybridge-based accountancy firm, TWP, questioned clients from a range of industries and found that the majority (70%) believe there needs to be a crack down on national debt before tackling anything else. Only 15% of those questioned felt that the Government should focus on forcing banks to lend more, while the same amount believed that a reduction in tax should be the first priority.
When asked what they felt presented the biggest challenge for businesses during 2010, more than half (60%) gave the answer of weak customer spending, while 30% felt that late payers would be the toughest problem of all. Only a handful of those questioned felt that tax levels (5%) and the lack of bank lending (5%) would be the biggest challenge they faced this year.
For the majority of business owners (60%), the prospect of an improved economy presents the biggest opportunity for businesses during 2010, with 15% feeling that the key to prosperity lies in the increased availability of skilled workers. 25% offered alternative answers such as improved confidence in the Government and new business opportunities.
It seems that business owners do not expect much alteration in performance this year, with 45% expecting business to be about the same as it was in 2009. Some are feeling more optimistic about the future, with 20% expecting business to be a little better, and 5% expecting it to be a lot better. Others are not feeling so positive with 30% feeling that things will get even worse this year (20% a little worse and 10% a lot worse).
When asked about how business was for them in 2009, it seems that most of those questioned could not reflect on a good year. 70% said that in 2009 business had been worse than usual (35% a lot worse and 35% a little worse). However, 20% reported no difference, while 10% had actually witnessed an improvement in business last year.
TWP partner, Graham Carter, said: “The results of this survey show that although we have been told the economy is on the mend, business owners are still wary of what the future holds for them. There are still concerns such as weak customer spending, late payers and tax levels, which are very much at the forefront of people’s minds and this is something the new Government needs to remember when setting out their policies.”
For more information about TWP, please call 01932 704 700.