Holiday? What holiday?

Jun 23 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Nearly one in three small business entrepreneurs wonít be able to take a single day of holiday this summer, according to research carried out on the website Startups.co.uk.

The poll of 500 small business entrepreneurs found that less than half were able to take the time away from their business for a full fortnightís holiday. A further quarter said that they would be taking a break but no longer than a week.

Marcus Austin, editor-in-chief of Startups.co.uk, said the figures highlight the struggle facing many entrepreneurs to make their businesses succeed.

"Everybody knows that if you decide to start and run your own business, youíll be giving up the standard 20 days paid holiday forever, and that youíll inevitably work longer hours than you did as an employee," said Austin.

"But that said, business owners need a rest as much as anyone else and itís a concern to see that so many are unable to take any holiday at all this summer."

Startups.co.uk say that increases in red tape appear to be the main reason for entrepreneursí lack of spare time.

Two other recent polls by Startups.co.uk found that almost two thirds of business owners claimed they would spend more time administering red tape over the next 12 months; and Ďa reduction in red tapeí was voted as the main business priority for Gordon Brown to tackle in the Budget.

These concerns were echoed last week by figures released by the Institute of Directors suggesting that small businesses spend an average of 6 hours a week on red tape.

The IoD highlighted three recent pieces of legislation - the National Minimum Wage Act, the Employment Relations Act and the Employment Act Ė as being largely responsible for what it described as an "ever-expanding burden that is binding UK business in red tape".

As Ruth Lea, Head of the Policy Unit at the IoD, said: "Extra time-consuming bureaucratic demands distract businesspeople from running their businesses, increase the possibility of litigation, damage businesses and add to costs. Moreover, they discourage job creation."

The human factor is equally important, says Marcus Austin: "The government is doing everything it can to protect workersí rights and we welcome that. But it canít keep ignoring the plight of the business owner.

"If itís serious about making Britain the best place in the world to start a business it must reduce the red tape burden thatís threatening to jeopardise the health of both the start-up business and its owner - and give them a well-deserved break."