The last ever spring budget is nearly upon us and British business groups have urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to deliver a “pro business” speech on 8th March.
So, what’s on the wish list for SMEs?
Clear strategy on business rates
Changes to business rates are looming from 1st April and many small businesses and shops, particularly in London, aren’t happy about it. The FSB estimate a revaluation could force about 510,000 businesses to face rates increases of up to 300 per cent.
The Government has criticised what they’ve called ‘scaremongering’ and stated that no change or a fall in rates will be seen by the vast majority of businesses. The bill, which was postponed in 2015, is expected to rise for a quarter of firms.
Head of Businesscomparison.com, Philip Brennan says
“The Government has established a transitional relief system to help businesses affected by the biggest bill changes over the next 5 years. This is a step in the right direction, however it is crucial that this is managed effectively.
“Small business owners face daily challenges of managing cash flow and getting access to finance to sustain and grow their enterprises. Add Brexit into the mix and it is an uncertain time. Small businesses need support and stability in the current climate. The rate hike may prove a tipping point for some. The Government needs keep pushing to make sure that large businesses and online companies, whatever their size, are all paying their fair share in taxes. It is important that all businesses are competing on a fair playing field.”
The average FSB employer will face £2,600 in additional employment costs due to government policy in the 2017/2018 tax year, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. The organisation has written calling for the Government to “show it is unashamedly pro-business” by putting forward a set of proposals which include changes to the social security system “so that it better reflects today’s economy”. It remains to be seen whether this will be addressed in the Spring budget.
Education and skills drive
The Chancellor has been urged to ensure the growth and support of British businesses over the course of the bumpy ride out of the EU. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has submitted suggestions that include a new funding plan to bridge the country’s tech skills gap with technical education. The non-profit organisation, that champions British businesses, has also called for a boost in research and development investment.