SME investment is the elephant in the general election war-rooms

Political uncertainty has caused a reduction of business investment in the UK by 11%

Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, calls for an end to “deafening silence” of politicians regarding SME investment

Now that the majority of the party leaders have launched their general election campaigns, there will now be five weeks of battling to decide which prospective vision for Britain captures the imagination of British voters best. However, the elephant in the room still remains the sustainability of the British economy post-Brexit, and how to reinvigorate investment that has dried up throughout the three and half years of political limbo and chaos.

Uncertainty in the British economy due to an inability to find a Brexit resolution has seen business investment into the UK cut by 11 percent, or the equivalent of £20bn. Just last month, the Office for National Statistics announced that labour productivity in the second quarter of 2019 fell by half a percent, the worst performance since 2014. Now, with an election looming and no guarantee that a majority will be secured, British businesses have been thrown further into the lurch regarding investment opportunities for growth.

Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, has called on leading ministers at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to speak up for SMEs to provide much needed confidence and stability.

“The silence from the ministers at the Department for (BEIS) has been deafening. Just a month ago we had a proposed Withdrawal Agreement that at the very least, gave businesses an idea of what the future looked liked, and how they needed to plan ahead. Now, we are in an election cycle, and we are back to square one.

There are 5.9 million SMEs in the UK. In other words, 99.9% of the businesses in the UK are SMEs. How can an economy be galvanised and strengthen if its very lifeblood is left in the precarious position of not knowing what is on the horizon. 60% of the British workforce works within an SME, with SMEs accounting for 52% of all turnover in the British economy. I find it quite remarkable that nothing is being said in defence of SMEs and their importance to the British economy.

I call on Andrea Leadsom at the Department for BEIS to speak up for small businesses on the election trail, and shadow secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey along with the other parties spokespeople to provide a clear vision as to how they will guarantee the longevity of SMEs in the UK to ensure that their dynamic input to the British economy will be maintained.”

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