An international study published by specialist global insurer Hiscox reveals widespread dissatisfaction with government support for SMEs; in the UK the figure of entrepreneurs backing government policies has fallen from 45 per cent in 2015 to 35 per cent for the current year.

The eighth annual Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur Report finds that more than half (51 per cent) of UK small business owners or managers agree with the statement ‘Our taxation system does not favour someone wanting to set up their own business’, up from 47 per cent a year ago.

Small businesses give a clear view on what governments could do to stimulate growth among small companies. Respondents in all six countries again picked reduced direct taxation as their number one wish.

In the UK, the other items on the wish list are simpler accounting rules, stimulation of lending, reduced health and safety laws and subsidised rents on starter premises.

Lack of government support is a key concern; in the UK, the proportion agreeing that their government is supportive has collapsed from 45 per cent to 35 per cent.

Of these, just a third (33 per cent) expect the situation to get better in the coming five years, down from 61 per cent the previous year.

More than half of UK small firms say Brexit will have no impact on their business, though a significant minority (31 per cent) see it as a negative.

Asked which country ‘has the greatest entrepreneurial spirit’, respondents in five of the six countries put the US top. Only the British beg to differ: they pick themselves.

Cyber-crime is seen as a major issue, with 11 per cent of respondents saying they have suffered a cyber-attack while 8 per cent say they do not know whether they have been targeted.

Of those who have suffered an attack, 26 per cent say it proved costly, but only one in six (16 per cent) was able to make an insurance claim. Just 8 per cent say they have e-risks insurance.

Further reading on support for SMEs