Almost a quarter of bosses in NI are delaying investment decisions until after the election

SMEs say schemes to support business growth are the most important issue for the post-election government.

Almost a quarter of SMEs in Northern Ireland are delaying investment decisions due to uncertainty over the outcome of the General Election, according to our recent business survey.

The findings come from the latest latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that gauges the opinion of SME owners and managers from a range of sectors across the UK.

Head of Sales (asset finance) of Close Brothers Commercial Finance, Adrian Madden said: “The General Election is fast approaching which of course is having an impact on decision-making at many firms.

“In the upcoming election, there are two key sources of uncertainty; the prospect of another coalition government and the possibility of an EU referendum. Both could have significant consequences for business and so it is understandable that some are holding back from making important business decisions pending a clearer picture of the future.”

The survey further found that schemes to support SME business growth are the most important issue for the post-election government to address for two fifths of firms surveyed.

Mr Madden added: “The latest Business Barometer showed that 81% of SMEs in Northern Ireland do plan to invest in their business during 2015 so let’s hope that uncertainty around the election will not affect their intentions.

“Our survey also shows that access to finance continues to be a stumbling block for many firms, with 16% of the businesses we talked to saying it is more difficult to access finance now than it was 12 months ago, and 28% saying it is as difficult now as this time last year.

“We hope that enabling access to appropriate finance is high on the agenda for the post-election government so that SMEs are in a strong position to invest and seize opportunities when decision-making is back on the agenda.”

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