FEWER than a third of business leaders in West Yorkshire are satisfied with Government attempts to stimulate the economy, a survey by workplace provider Regus has shown.

The firm’s latest Business Confidence Index showed sentiment among local businesses fell by 5 points over the past six months to stand at 87 – placing the area well behind the national average of 94 on the index.

Cash-flow was highlighted by 79% of small and start-up businesses as their biggest concern, followed by finding new customers (48%) and the cost of marketing and promotion (29%). Respondents also identified the key measures that would substantially help small businesses and start-ups – tax exemptions (74%), low interest loans (72%) and mentoring schemes (21%).

“Business leaders are sending a clear message to the Government,” said Steve Purdy, UK managing director of Regus. “They clearly don’t have much faith in the current policies to stimulate the economic growth which is so badly needed.”

Mr Purdy said confidence among local entrepreneurs and small businesses has slipped since the last BCI report in April, adding: “This is a worrying sign given the vital role that this sector of the business community plays in driving growth and creating jobs.

“The overall picture remains very challenging and nearly four-fifths of respondents pinpoint cash flow as the major issue preventing growth.

“I urge smaller companies to look in detail at all overheads to find savings that can improve their cash situation.

“Nationally, a third of respondents reported that one of the major burdens during the downturn were property leases. Moving to a flexible work model without a fixed property lease can allow businesses to be more agile and free-up cash for investment without relying on credit at a time when it is so difficult to secure.”