The owners of small firms in the UK are struggling to achieve a work-life balance due to the long hours they work, it has been suggested.

According to figures produced by Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank, nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of such people stated they work late into the night, spending 50 hours more at the desks each week.

Additionally, it was found that 68 per cent of small company owners spend at least the same or more time in the office than they did five years ago.

"It is difficult for small business owners to achieve an optimum work-life balance when they are ultimately responsible for the success and financial health of their business," stated Steve Jennings, director of business banking at Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank.

He added that firm owners are also under increasing pressure from the "growing amount" of red tape, which places demands on their time.

A study conducted recently by the Trades Union Congress suggested that the culture of working long hours is making a comeback in the UK, with the number of people putting in more than 48 hours per week now standing at 3.3 million.