With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak anticipated to call an election this year, a survey conducted by Startups.co.uk indicates that a majority of small business owners in the UK welcome a change in government. After facing consecutive crises and numerous business closures, there is evident enthusiasm for change among those operating small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In the survey of 546 UK small businesses, 58% of business owners believed that a change in government in 2024 would positively impact their prospects, while only 9% anticipated a negative impact. SMEs in Scotland were particularly optimistic, with 74% expecting a positive impact, followed by those in Greater London at 67%.
Throughout 2023, SMEs faced various challenges, including soaring inflation and labor shortages. The survey revealed that 51% of businesses felt they had survived rather than thrived over the past year. Technology and software companies, in particular, expressed eagerness for a change in government, with 74% in this sector anticipating a positive impact.
Despite the desire for change, the survey also uncovered a general sense of optimism among small business owners in the UK. Entrepreneurs running newer businesses, founded in the past year, were the most optimistic, with 74% expressing positivity about the future. However, regional variations were observed, with business leaders in London being highly optimistic (73%), while Northern Irish business leaders exhibited the highest level of business pessimism (20%).
The research highlighted that business incentives could influence how company owners vote, with 54% indicating that such policies could impact their decision in the upcoming election. The poll suggests that the Conservative party could potentially regain support among business leaders if the Chancellor passes a generous Spring Budget in March, addressing capital and funding concerns.