Small business owners say UK must stay in EU

A third of business owners said the EU referendum was their top concern

A third of small business owners have said a commitment to remain in the EU is chief among their wishes for the new Conservative government, ahead of taxes and a highly skilled workforce.

A survey of 1000 small business owners in the UK showed that EU membership is a key concern over the next government. David Cameron has pledged to hold an EU referendum on UK membership by the end of 2017.

Almost a quarter of businesses surveyed want a simplified PAYE system. A reduction in business tax rates and an end of late payments by large companies were also high among concerns.

David Postings, UK chief executive of Bibby Financial Services, the independent finance specialist that conducted the report, said that stability and simplicity would be essential for small businesses to flourish.

“The new Government must address the economic challenges ahead and create a stable environment for small businesses to flourish,” Postings said. “The businesses we speak with tell us that this should encompass a reduction in the business tax rates and clarity on the tax regime over the next five years.”

Bibby’s data showed a slowing across sectors among its 4000 small business clients in the first quarter. Year-on-year output declined by 9 per cent during the first quarter of 2015.  Transport was hit with an 11 per cent drop in productivity while the manufacturing sector productivity dropped 5.6 per cent.

Of the sectors that saw growth, construction was far ahead with growth of 15 per cent year-on-year.