Inaugural BGF Growth Climate Index reveals infrastructure is top priority for business leaders

BGF's inaugural Growth Climate Index – a new indicator of business confidence based on the opinions of 350 Board Directors working across the UK’s fast growing small and mid-sized businesses, revealed that improved rail, roads and runways ranked first among the business issues that need to be prioritised by the new Government.

The Index polled BGF’s Talent Network, a proprietary network of Board Directors with wide ranging experience across the spectrum of UK and international business, from non-executives of high growth small and mid-sized companies, to FTSE 100.

25 per cent prioritised physical infrastructure, while 19 per cent highlighted the need to see simplified employment policies and an improvement in the quality of apprenticeships to make them more attractive to businesses and young people.

Over three quarters (78 per cent) believe that conditions for growth will continue to improve over the next quarter, following what was considered to be a strong start to the year. Businesses are keen to capitalise on this environment – 92 per cent of those polled said that the objectives of the entrepreneurs they work with are to pursue growth over the next quarter.

The business leaders highlighted sales and marketing, international expansion, and attracting investment as the three areas businesses need to focus on to achieve growth over the next quarter. Conversely, of the issues holding businesses back, twice as many respondents consider access to the right skills (69 per cent) rather than regulation and red tape (30 per cent) as a the biggest barrier to growth. Less than four per cent identified tax policy as a current constraint to growth.

Referendum jitters were consistent throughout the polling. Many respondents expressed a mixture of fatigue and anxiety over continued constitutional and political uncertainty, and cite the need for the UK’s position in Europe to be settled quickly and in a firm timeframe so as not to curtail business decision making.

An overwhelming majority (82 per cent) said that UK’s membership of the EU is good for British businesses, and emphasised the importance of the EU export market for companies wanting to scale-up their operations (88 per cent). A similar number (80 per cent) believe that another Scottish Independence referendum would be bad for British businesses.

The full report can be read here.