Female entrepreneurs vote David Cameron best for small business Notonthehighstreet.com poll puts Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown neck and neck behind

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In the run up to the general election and with the final party leaders’ television debate on 29th April focusing on the economy, over 400 female entrepreneurs have spoken out about their hopes and concerns in an in-depth survey by notonthehighstreet.com.

Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker, Founders of notonthehighstreet.com

In order to grow this vital part of the UK economy politicians must get real about small businesses demands

In the run up to the general election and with the final party leaders’ television debate on 29th April focusing on the economy, over 400 female entrepreneurs have spoken out about their hopes and concerns in an in-depth survey by notonthehighstreet.com, the multi award winning shopping website which supports over 1,500 of Britain’s most original and successful small businesses, of which over 90 per cent are run by women.

Notonthehighstreet.com’s survey of its small business entrepreneurs reveals:

  •     David Cameron’s Conservative Party considered best small business champion with the greatest understanding of small business
  •     Conservative Party at top of election poll although vast majority undecided with Labour and Liberal Democrats equally low and running neck and neck behind in attracting the small business vote
  •     Nearly half say they see no signs of a Labour government making a positive difference to small business, less than 6% say Brown puts a high value on the role of small business in the UK economy and only 0.5% say they feel well supported by a government which understands small businesses needs
  •     Only 3.3% of small businesses say Labour’s recent budget announcement is enough to get them to vote labour
  •     Easily available start-up and early stage grants are small businesses’ greatest demand followed by better tax breaks
  •     E-commerce is key to small businesses with nearly half saying they would never have never gone into business if they couldn’t sell online
  •     Lack of finance and e-commerce knowledge is the greatest obstacle to growth
  •     Small business sector remarkably strong with over one third saying they have been unaffected by the economic downturn and 23.9% reporting annual turnover is up
  •     More small businesses have used credit cards to fund their business than have applied for a government grant or taken out a business bank loan or personal bank loan.

Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish, co-founders of notonthehighstreet.com said: “83.4% of the small businesses that took part in our survey told us that they believe there is an important job to by done by notonthehighstreet.com in representing the small business community to the government and the media, so we are pleased to be giving our warts and all report in the run up to the general election.

“Our survey clearly shows that whoever gets into power in the coming election has got their work cut out. The small business sector is strong in poor economic times with hundreds of thriving businesses telling us they are riding high above the recession. But in order to grow this vital part of the UK economy politicians must get real about small businesses demands. We undertook a similar survey two years ago and these latest results show feelings are even more strongly against the government. The same issues are being highlighted again two years on but the government clearly hasn’t listened. We invite each of the party leaders to come and meet us and we will be pleased to tell it to them straight and provide them with invaluable information about our small businesses and what they really want.”

POLITICS AND THE ELECTION SURVEY RESULTS
When asked which party they think champions small businesses the most notonthehighstreet.com’s female entrepreneurs voted as follows:
David Cameron’s Conservative Party - 44.6%
Gordon Brown’s Labour Party - 28.2%
Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrat Party - 27.2%    

The small businesses who took part in the survey are more than three times more likely to vote Conservative but a huge majority, 62%, are still undecided and interestingly Labour and the Liberal Democrats are exactly neck and neck. When asked who they would vote for in the general election on May 6th the results were:
Conservative - 23.1%
Labour - 7.4%
Liberal Democrat - 7.4%
Undecided - 62.0%

When asked how they rate Gordon Brown’s and David Cameron’s understanding of small businesses they replied:
                 Gordon Brown    David Cameron
High                    2.5%                 5.0%
Average            42.8%                50.9%
Low                    41.1%                34.3%
None at all     13.6%                 9.8%

When asked what value Gordon Brown and David Cameron place on the role of small businesses in the UK economy, again Cameron wins over Brown:
                 Gordon Brown     David Cameron
High value         5.5%                 11.6%
Medium             40.8%                 49.9%
Low                     53.7%                 38.5%    

The government’s position in relation to the small business community rated badly with nearly half reporting they do not see Labour showing any sign of making a positive different to small business.

When asked where they think the government is positioned at the moment within the small business community respondents said:
Not well – despite well-publicised claims, I see not sign of them making a positive difference to small businesses - 46.1%
Badly – they are too removed from the realities of running small business to give any
proper support - 23.4%
Getting better – lately they have improved their efforts - 14.4%
Moderately well, though I think they lack in some areas - 9.3 %
Hopelessly – government policies only make running my business more difficult - 6.3%
Very well, they’re at the heart of it – I feel well supported by a government who
understands my needs - 0.5%

Only 3.3% of small businesses said that the recent government budget announcement was enough for them to vote Labour in the next general election with over half remaining undecided
Yes - 3.3%
No - 43.3%
Don’t know - 53.4%        

Half the female entrepreneurs surveyed said that the government is not supportive at all to women in their businesses’ key requirement and are least strong in giving them financial backing. When given a choice of options to highlight the ways the Government is supportive of women in business they highlighted:
None of the options - 50.1%
Tax breaks for working parents     - 21.9%
Business advice - 19.9%
Childcare facilities - 17.1%
Training - 9.3%
Financial backing - 2.5%

A call for easily available start-up and early stage grants is considered the most important thing that Government could do to support small businesses, followed by better tax breaks. When asked the single most important think the government could do to support small businesses, respondents said:
Easily available start-up and early stage grants - 32.5%
Better tax breaks - 26.2%
Legal and accounting support at no or low cost - 22.2%
Automatic, easy access to qualified mentors and impartial advice - 14.1%
Significantly reduced legislation - 5.0%

For the full survey results, download this complete press release here.

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Julie Turner
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