British SMEs are unclear about the general election

An overwhelming 89% of British SMEs are interested in what the general election could mean for their business, according to data from Zurich, but opinion is divided about the potential consequences.

One in five (21%) SME decision makers surveyed predict the outcome of the election will be positive for their business, but 27% think it will have no impact, and 40% say they don’t know. Just 12% are worried that the outcome will be negative for them.

Most SMEs will vote with a business head, with 59% of decision makers who plan to vote saying they will take the interests of their business into consideration when voting. Furthermore, 48% plan to learn more about the impact of individual party policies on their business before deciding who to vote for.

Decision makers from small and medium businesses are more certain of their opinions about an EU Referendum. More than half (54%) of SMEs think an EU exit would damage the UK economy. The same amount (54%) of SMEs would like to see us remain in the EU, and only one third (33%) would like to see an EU exit.

There is also a lack of consensus amongst SMEs about whether the coalition government has been positive for their business. 38% of those surveyed say the coalition has been positive, 32% say it has had no impact and one quarter (26%) say it has been negative.

SMEs are calling for the next government to ease the effects of increased regulation on their businesses. 43% of respondents would like to see the next government cut legislation and red-tape as the top priority for SMEs in the UK, while 18% prioritised the tackling of late payment terms, and 14% cite better access to finance as their top priority.

These statistics are taken from Zurich’s quarterly SME Risk Index covering the period October to December 2014.