Research commissioned by specialist lender Together has highlighted the significant investment challenge SME business leaders are likely to face over the course of the next 12 months.
According to the survey of 300 business owners, UK SMEs invested an average of £565,000 last year. However, this was substantially less than planned investment of £710,000, largely due to the difficult economic climate and, without government intervention, the study’s authors believe investment levels could fall even further in 2023.
The research also highlighted ongoing challenges relating to the cost of fuel and raw materials, difficulties with recruiting and retaining staff, global supply chain issues and high taxes. In addition, almost a third of SMEs said they had delayed plans to expand their workforce, while two-thirds had deferred plans to improve business energy ratings.
Commenting on the findings, Together Corporate Managing Director Chris Baguley stressed the need for “thorough and direct intervention from the government” to support SME growth ambitions. He added, “Every day, across the country, companies are struggling to make ends meet, let alone having the time or capacity to grow. With this study, we highlight the clear investment opportunities needing additional support across the SME sector.”