As businesses lay out their plans for 2016, two of Britain’s major high street banks have released separate surveys measuring the performance, confidence and outlook of private firms across the UK.
Lloyds Bank’s Business in Britain Report, a biannual survey on business opinions and trends, found that business prospects for profit, capital expenditure and expansion are consistent with the solid growth projected for the British economy over the next year. The report also found that just over half (52%) of all SMEs surveyed are operating at full capacity, up from less than one-in-three in 2011.
These findings were largely echoed in Barclay’s business sentiment survey. After speaking to approximately 1,000 businesses on the challenges and opportunities they anticipate in 2016, the survey revealed that more than half of respondents expect their turnover to increase by 10%.
The high level of business confidence highlighted by both surveys follows three years of positive national economic growth. Britain is in an ideal position to secure its status as a world leader in entrepreneurship and innovation this year. In order to fulfil the nation’s business potential, the Government should continue in its efforts to rebalance the economy across the country by encouraging SME activity and progression.
CEO of IW Capital, Luke Davis, stressed this point as part of his recent interview with City A.M. on the future of Britain’s alternative finance industry. Reiterating his support for policy that promotes due diligence while encouraging further SME investment, Luke noted that the Government needs to do more to ensure that alternative finance becomes a viable, long-term source of funding for early-stage businesses.
In the interview, Luke explained that innovative new industries can often grow at such a pace that regulation struggles to keep up – the backlash from policy makers can result in over-regulation that stunts further growth. To ensure that this does not happen and the relationship between government and business remains mutually beneficial, Luke called for adequate policy that promotes a smooth transaction of capital between company and investor.