MANY small business bosses are missing out on their summer holidays because they can not afford to take time off, research shows.

A recent poll found that up to a third of bosses of the UK's 3.7 million small and medium-sized businesses will be unable to take any days off this summer.

And a quarter said they would try to take a break, but it would be for just a week.

They blame the problem on pressure to juggle surges in seasonal demand and a lack of staff cover.

Paul Jameson, MD of Out-source UK, an IT recruitment agency based in Old Town, says he has been forced to cancel trips away in the past.

"About a month ago I was due to take a week off to do a snowboarding instructors' course.

"But we had a big project on and I felt that I had to be there to support the staff.

"I would have felt guilty going off on holiday while everyone else was running around even though I am sure nobody would have minded.

"As a boss you are responsible for your company," he said.

Mr Jameson claims it is extremely hard to forget about work, even when he does manage to get away.

He said: "It virtually impossible to completely forget about work. When I'm dropping off to sleep I'm thinking about that project or who I am going to get in to do that particular job. It's never far from the surface."

But while Robin Goddard, sales manager of Southwest-based lending firm Bibby Factors, agrees that the summer can be a fraught time, he says there are steps bosses can take to minimise problems.

He said: "Large surges in seasonal demand can throw firms off track.

"With proper planning, owners and managers can not only survive the summer season but can take the time to have a proper holiday themselves away from the daily grind.

"Providing any leave is planned and properly managed, there is no reason why busy bosses can't take a well-deserved break without minimal disruption to their businesses," Mr Goddard said.