A new Populus survey commissioned by the British Chambers of Commerce ahead of its annual conference on April 16th and 17th  has discovered that UK entrepreneurs now believe it is far harder to start and grow a business today than it was ten years ago.

Despite claims by the Government that they are creating a dynamic, entrepreneurial and competitive economy, businesses clearly believe that the opposite has actually occurred since 1997.


When asked to think about everything involved in trying to start and grow a business today compared with ten years ago, 49 per cent of those polled said that it was much harder whilst 20 per cent said it was a little harder.


The reason businesses give for this are clear: Education & Skills and Red Tape.


When asked to say what should be the Government’s FIRST priority for improving UK competitiveness, 24 per cent said improve the education system whilst 17 per cent said improve skills training, giving a combined 41 per cent who believe that our Education and Skills system need to be improved.   Red Tape was listed by 33 per cent as being the main priority to be tackled.


David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, will be making his keynote speech on the Monday morning of Conference.  The highlights of the speech are set to be:

 -    Businesses are doing all that they can to succeed.  Let us not downplay our country's success

-     However, we could be doing a lot better

-     Politicians are taking business success for granted.   The agenda for all parties is how to spend rather than emphasise wealth creation

-     To engender further growth politicians must tackle regulation, stop young people failing at school, improve our transport system and encourage enterprise.


David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“Businesses are succeeding in the UK through the desire and ambition of the hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs who are battling to succeed in the competitive globalised economy.  Politicians of all parties must not take this for granted and see businesses merely as a revenue stream to fund their spending.

“Politicians now shy away from talking about wealth creation, instead focussing all their energy on how to spend the money the business community creates.  With 69 per cent of businesses saying that it is harder to start and grow a business now than it was ten years ago politicians of all parties must not take business growth for granted.

“What we need is not just talk but action.  Red tape needs to be cut and the education system needs to ensure that children leave school with skills that are relevant to the 21st Century economy.  By tackling these problems politicians of all parties would show the business community that they are taking our concerns seriously.”