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UK SME investment affected by European worries, says survey

Investment plans for almost a third of SMEs in the UK have been put on hold because of continued uncertainty in Europe.

Smith & Williamson's latest quarterly Enterprise Index survey found that macro-economic issues are having a direct effect on growth plans in the small business sector of the UK economy.


The continued possibility of Greece leaving the EU, together with worries about the global economy and new dividend tax rules in the UK, have all led to SMEs tightening the reins on investment.

Of the 150 participants that took part, more than 90% said they would consider using new alternatives such as crowd funding in place of traditional ways of raising funding. In addition, 87% of owners of small businesses said that more support to help businesses export goods and services should come from the government.

In a direct example, the report cited the fact that many SMEs do not know that research and development (R&D) activity aimed at increasing exports can attract tax credits benefits.

Other factors

The head of entrepreneurial services at Smith & Williamson, Guy Rigby, said: "Other factors undermining business confidence include the prospect of a US and UK interest rate rise, a potential 2016 EU referendum and volatility in global stock markets, sparked by China amidst concerns around global growth.

“These issues, which have been well aired in the press, are trickling down and undermining confidence amongst UK SMEs. The real question is whether business confidence will continue to decline as we approach the end of 2015."

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