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Small businesses aren't worried about technology

Competition and taxation still top of their list

Reducing security risks from open source software

Small businesses in the UK have an optimistic view of the future, according to the Annual Small Business Survey, with 65 per cent looking to grow their business over the next 12 months, and less than 30 per cent expecting to shut up shop, or sell out, over the same period.

Competition is still the biggest barrier to growth, with 15 per cent claiming they're in a crowed market. Just shy of that (14 per cent) said over-regulation was holding them back, and 12 per cent reckon taxation is their biggest problem.

Recruiting the right staff continues to bother six per cent, and four per cent can't find the right premises. However, less than one per cent of SMEs worries about keeping up with the latest technology.

A happier two per cent can see nothing stopping them, only an infinite horizon of opportunities, or at least that's how they felt a year ago the figures were collected.

For while the report is newly published, by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the data was gathered between November 2006 and February 2007: when Northern Rock was a sensible place to put your money and few people had any idea what a "sub-prime" was.

Whether those companies feel the same way now we'll have to wait another 12 months to find out, but it seems likely that economic growth might be an issue to more than the 10 per cent it is in this report.

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