The recent Autumn Statement offered a glimmer of hope for SMEs with measures like the full expensing scheme being made permanent. But with SMEs making up 99% of the economy, they are widely acknowledged as the engines of UK growth and Simply Asset Finance is calling for policy changes that not only encourage investment but cultivate an environment that aligns with innovation, efficiency, and sustainable growth for SMEs in the year ahead.
Simply Asset Finance’s research has revealed the persistent concern of business productivity and the need to address factors like access to skilled labour, technology advancements and streamlined processes.
Recent findings from our latest research highlight these issues:
- 64% of UK SMEs are calling for more resources and support to be made available to them and their businesses.
- Strikingly, almost half of SMEs (48%) admit they don’t know where to look to find support for their business.
- With the pressing concern of stifled productivity top of the agenda for almost three-quarters of businesses, only one in five can actively invest in new equipment or machinery to counteract this.
- Business leaders find themselves particularly burdened by escalating operational costs, a worry for 79% of business leaders, and supply chain expenses, weighing in as a concern for 75%.
- In the past five months just one in five (22%) have been able to invest in new technology, or equipment and machinery (20%).
Mike Randall, CEO at Simply Asset Finance, said: “SMEs up and down the country are ready to seize growth opportunities and be the engine of the UK’s economic recovery.
“A significant and cost-effective step would be to simply make it easier for SMEs to invest in asset purchases. Just being able to expense it could have a transformative impact on businesses across the country, and the move by the Chancellor last week to make the full expensing scheme permanent is a step towards this. But more significant action is required to keep UK business on the right track and ensure they’re in a position to seize it. An extension of the Recovery Loan Scheme or a replacement with similar underlying aims would be an example of this and provide SMEs with real certainty, as well as the confidence to invest in their future.
“The role of an experienced financial partner is critical too. Lenders need to step up service and work much harder to find and share ways to support SMEs, including by providing much needed clarity on the range of funding options available to fuel growth, such as asset finance. The scale of the growth opportunity is significant but turning potential into reality will require industry and government to pull in the same direction.”