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Small business owners underwhelmed by ‘poor’ government support

| Alison Smith | 27 July 2023

77% of owner-managed businesses rate government support as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, according to a survey by the Association of Practising Accountants (APA), which includes Duncan & Toplis.

The key findings of the survey of over 500 UK businesses also suggest:

  • 90% anticipate labour costs to rise over the next 12 months
  • 89% anticipate supply-chain costs to rise over the next 12 months
  • 53% expect energy costs to impede their ability to deliver
  • 68% were either ‘unlikely’ or ‘very unlikely’ to make significant capital investments in the next 12 months
  • 23% identified business growth as their main priority while 59% said sustaining their business and 11% were focused on business survival

Despite these concerns, the research found that many of these businesses remained resilient:

  • 49% said they are in better shape than 12 months ago
  • 78% were confident they could cope with further interest rate rises in the next 12 months
  • Only 39% felt recruitment and retention was likely to be a bigger challenge going forward than in the previous 12 months

Commenting on the findings APA Chairman Martin Muirhead said:

“Owner-managed businesses are struggling. A combination of inflationary pressures, cost of living challenges, energy price volatility and an uncertain economic outlook present a significant threat to this vital economic sector.

“There is real frustration among these businesses at the lack of resolve from the government that is now required to help tackle these issues. The overarching message from our research is that uncertain trading conditions are hampering competitiveness and that while there are multiple causes, not enough is being done by policymakers to help owner-managers deal with the fallout.”

The APA is a network of 20 leading business advisory firms, including Duncan & Toplis, advising and supporting in excess of 14,000 businesses with a combined turnover surpassing hundreds of millions. Our clients help drive jobs and growth across the UK and internationally.

Clearly, this research shows that owner-managers don’t feel like they can rely on the government for support and yet they’re anxious about rising supply chain and labour costs in the year ahead. This makes it all the more important that they have access to dedicated, expert advice and guidance so they can protect their businesses and grow.

Our accounting and business services are the backbone of our business advisory offering, with our team becoming an extension of yours to support you year-round.

You can download and read the report in full here.

If you’d like to find out more about our business services and how we can help your organisations, contact our team today.


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