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Nov 8, 2011

The UK isn't business friendly, say SMEs

The results of the latest ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) survey claim most SMEs feel weighed down by the regulations the government has laid down. The general sentiment is that the UK is not as business-friendly as they would like it to be.

The ICAEW report found that less than half (44 per cent) of businesses felt the country was friendly towards businesses. This was down from last year’s figure of 50 per cent, with the drop noticed particularly by SMEs. 55 per cent of the businesses had considered the UK to be business friendly back in 2010; the number had fallen to a mere 38 per cent this year.

The new regulations introduced in 2011 have given UK employers quite a bit to think about. Some of these include the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) requiring employers to provide agency workers with the same basic employment and working conditions as permanent employees after a 12-week qualification period, and others related to flexible work structure rights and employee retirement age. A hike in minimum wages and modifications to national insurance are other aspects that employers have had to contend with.

Small and medium scale businesses struggle to track regulatory changes and guarantee compliance, and more so in comparison with larger businesses. The tax environment is also less business friendly, felt 53 per cent of the country’s chartered accountants in another survey conducted by ICAEW.

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