UK Entrepreneurs Have Shortest Hours and Least Red Tape

Posted on 16 October, 2012 by MOVEHUT

Researchers claim British small business owners work fewer hours than their counterparts in the US, Spain, France Germany and the Netherlands.

 

A survey of 3,000 small companies across the six countries found that entrepreneurs in Britain have the shortest five day working weeks, clocking up on average 38.5 hours a week, while Germans have the longest 5 day working week, at more than 47 hours.

British companies also described being less adversely affected by red tape than business owners in any of the other countries featured in the survey.

The research by Hiscox also found British business owners are among the most content with their lot –over half said they were happier running a small business than working as a member of staff in a larger company. This compared with an average of just 39 per cent. Dutch respondents, on the other hand, reported the lowest stress levels.

On the whole entrepreneurs reported somewhat improved buoyancy about their prospects compared with when Hiscox ran the survey back in 2011, with 47 per cent of British businesses expecting an improved 12 months of trading compared with 40 per cent last year.

Chief executive of Hiscox, Bronek Masojada said: “Despite a year of deepening economic gloom, most small businesses are displaying more optimism. The resilience and self-belief within SMEs are evidenced by renewed commitment to work more efficiently and seek new opportunities. In five of our six countries, a substantial majority of respondents reported gains in new customers.”

However, buoyancy deteriorated sharply among small businesses in Spain and France, and stress levels remain high. One in three of all respondents said they had trouble sleeping, and a quarter said they feared insolvency. In Spain, this rose to 53 per cent.

A quarter of British businesses said they had abandoned postponed plans because of the Eurozone crisis, compared with 37 per cent in Germany and 76 per cent in Spain.

Meanwhile the UK government has revealed that it plans to get rid of or overhaul some 3,000 regulations for businesses in a major plan that aims to improve growth.

From April 2013, offices, clubs and pubs will no longer face heavy regular health and safety inspections unless they have an incident or poor track record. Businesses will only face recurring health and safety inspections if they function in high risk areas such as construction.

The government will also relax legislation to ensure businesses will only be responsible for civil damages in health and safety cases if they have acted negligently. Under current legislation, businesses are automatically accountable for damages even if they weren’t negligent.

Head of Regulatory Policy at the Institute of Directors, Alexander Ehmann, said: “Removing the headache of health and safety inspections for low-risk businesses is a step change. Scrapping unnecessary and unpredictable inspections is a valuable piece of deregulation and the government is to be congratulated for taking such bold and decisive action on behalf of Britain’s businesses.”

Under the Red Tape Challenge process, which aims to ease the burden of regulation, the government has been examining some 6,500 codes of practice to see which ones it can get rid of by the end of 2013. The Red Tape Challenge has already resulted in a number of changes, including employment tribunal reforms, which are projected to generate £40 million savings.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “We’re getting out of the way by bringing common sense back to health and safety. We will now be holding departments’ feet to the fire to ensure all unnecessary red tape is cut.”

 




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