According to new research by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), local business growth is being jeopardised by council’s decisions.

Five-hundred SMEs were surveyed, and the results showed that one in five UK small and medium sized enterprises feel that decisions made by their local councils are having a detrimental impact on their business. Decisions regarding parking and traffic restrictions, red tape around business premises and procurement of goods and services from out-of-town businesses were all common complaints.

In a survey of 2,000 UK consumers, 48% said that councils should be doing more to help local SMEs, while 27% believe that councils are actively hindering local SME growth.

Head of ACCA UK, Andrew Leck, commented:

“In recent years, the UK public has been encouraged to support British businesses and now the same principle must be applied on a local scale.

“SMEs make up 99% of all UK organisations, and our research shows that local councils simply cannot afford to ignore the ramifications of their decisions on these local businesses.”

Regardless of these negative figures however, only 4% of SMEs said that they would need to reduce their local presence over the coming year and 14% claim that they are planning to increase their footprint.

In addition to this, 10% of SMEs who responded stated that they were exploring international trade opportunities.

Leck added:

“’It is encouraging to see that small businesses remain positive and are looking for ways to expand and grow in the coming years – both from a local and international perspective. Councils must recognise the role they have to play in local economic development and ensure that all decisions are made with local SMEs in mind so as not to stifle this positivity.”