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Small and medium-sized enterprise policy: Designed to fail?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Oliver Mallett



Significant doubts persist over the effectiveness of government policy to increase the numbers or performance of small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK economy. We analyse UK political manifestoes from 1964-2015 to examine the development of SME policy in political discourse. We do this by analysing how the broadly-defined category of ‘SME’ has been characterised in the manifestoes and assess these characterisations in relation to the empirical evidence base. We highlight three consistent themes in UK political manifestoes during 1964-2015 where SMEs have been characterised as having the potential for growth, struggling to access finance and being over-burdened by regulation. We argue that homogenising the broad range of businesses represented by the SME category and characterising them in these terms misrepresents them, undermining policies developed in relation to this mischaracterisation.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wapshott R, Mallett O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space

Year: 2018

Volume: 36

Issue: 4

Pages: 750-772

Online publication date: 17/07/2017

Acceptance date: 12/06/2017

Date deposited: 14/06/2017

ISSN (print): 2399-6544

ISSN (electronic): 2399-6552

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/2399654417719288


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