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15 November 2011 | Angeline Albert
Many small UK businesses believe the government is failing to help them compete for contracts
effectively, according to research.
A poll of 311 small
firms, commissioned by skilledpeople.com,
found 70 per cent say they suffer from a lack of support from the government in
helping them secure public and private sector business.
One in five who
received invitations to tender in the past year said they did not bid for the
business because they were concerned they would be unable to deliver the goods
or services required because of capacity issues or skills shortages. They
said better government support, in the form of more flexible employment laws,
reduced business rates and lower levels of corporation tax, would help SMEs
combat their skills shortages and capacity issues and enable them to compete
admitted they have limited ambition to win large contracts and compete against
bigger firms. More than a quarter (27 per cent) said they would not compete
against a large competitor because “it’s not worth their time”. Of these, 10
per cent said this was because skills gaps were hindering their ability to
were conducted by Opinium Research of sole traders up to those with up to 49
employees. There are believed to be more than 4.5 million small
businesses in the UK.
separate announcement, data published by the Bank of England revealed five
major UK banks’ lending to SMEs fell in the third quarter, calling into
question their ability to keep a promise to support small businesses.
between the government and Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group,
Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander Group,
known as Project Merlin, included
pledges by the banks to lend £76 billion to SMEs in 2011. Data published yesterday reveals
the banks’ combined lending dropped from £20.5 billion in the second quarter to
18.8 billion in quarter three. They must now lend a further 19.9 billion in the
fourth quarter of 2011 to keep their £76 billion promise.