A survey of over 100 local small businesses by East Dunbartonshire MP Jo Swinson showed that many are in an optimistic mood about future growth.
Over half the local businesses said they intend to employ new staff in the next year, whereas fewer than 4 in 10 said they had recruited in the last 12 months, showing the increased confidence of local employers. Very few respondents thought regulation, tax or access to finance were significant obstacles to growth; all areas the Liberal Democrats in Government have reformed for businesses.
The Coalition Government is offering businesses a £2,000 allowance to reduce national insurance contributions and help with the cost of hiring new staff, and half of local businesses thought this measure would boost their business.
Only 14 respondents said they had applied for a business loan in the last two years. However, there was a positive response to the Government’s £1billion Business Bank, set up by the Liberal Democrats and which increases access to finance; 50 respondents said they would now consider using this scheme.
Commenting, Jo said:
“My survey revealed some interesting comments on the state of the economy, the mood amongst local employers and what can be done to help businesses grow.
“Confidence in the local economy is clearly growing, shown by the fact that more than half of local employers now say they intend to hire staff in the next year. It is very encouraging that local firms reacted positively to government schemes designed to support small businesses and I was pleased to see 85% of respondents said they wanted to hear more about these schemes to help their business grow.
“As East Dunbartonshire’s MP I see it as a key part of my job to support local employers, which is why I organised a Jobs Fair which was hugely successful in putting local companies in touch with job seekers.
“The Coalition Government has made it easier for people to set up a business and access finance, and I will continue to assist local businesses who want to make the most of the supportive schemes that have been created”.