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Domestic red tape and skills top concerns for private firms

According to a PwC survey of 2,450 companies across 31 European countries, private businesses feel more burdened by domestic red tape than by EU bureaucracy. In the survey, 39 per cent said domestic red tape was a concern, compared with about 29 per cent citing EU red tape as a problem.

PwC's Mark Smith said: “While it is often perceived that regulatory and bureaucratic intervention by EU authorities is stifling business initiative and ensnaring companies in red tape, most private businesses don’t feel that way... We see this as a wake-up call for many national governments. They need to do much more to gain the confidence of private businesses in their jurisdictions, starting with tackling red tape and also the cost of regulatory compliance.”

The survey also found that:

  • In Italy, where anti-establishment, eurosceptic parties have very recently scored electoral success, as many as 49 per cent of respondents felt domestic bureaucracy was a problem, compared with 20 per cent singling out EU red tape.
  • European private businesses say that a skills shortage is their greatest challenge, preventing them from hiring the right talent for growth. PwC estimates that the skills shortage is costing the region’s private businesses €324 billion annually in lost revenues.
  • There is uncertainty about the impact of Brexit, considering that the UK is a sizeable market for private businesses. However, 68 per cent expect not to be affected by Brexit.
  • Digitalisation was mentioned as a priority by only 31 per cent of private businesses in Europe. This implies that many private businesses still underestimate what a digital future means for their companies and underestimate its potential and its disruptive forces.

CTMfile take: Read more of the survey's results on bureaucracy, Brexit, skills shortages and growth strategies for private businesses here.

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Cash & Liquidity Management in Europe
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