Measures aim to boost confidence in challenging times

Nov 23, 2017

THE FSB called upon the Chancellor to deliver a budget that inspires businesses to invest, to grow and to leverage our truly innovative nation of entrepreneurs and risk takers. Overall, this is a business-friendly Budget.

The Chancellor’s vision for an inclusive economy includes a set of measures that will boost confidence across the small business community as they face extremely challenging trading conditions.

Government, in its attempt to realign tax revenues, increase minimum wages and extend pension contributions, has hit the small business community very hard.

With more and more incentives to take risks being removed, government needs to get to grips with the seemingly endless stream of increased cost pressures being imposed on SME businesses, the very businesses that it is looking towards to drive and build the UK’s future economy.

The 1.5 million modest-earning small firms and the self-employed will be relieved that we have seen off a VAT tax grab that would have caused huge economic damage. Instead, FSB is ready to work with the Treasury to simplify an over-complicated tax that on average takes a business a whole week to administer every year.

We welcome the careful approach to protect diesel van drivers while at the same time addressing air quality. We also welcome the fuel duty freeze, which is vital to so many local and rural Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire businesses for customers, suppliers and staff.

FSB presented a series of reforms to the Chancellor to make the business rates system fit for the future and we are delighted to see many taken on board to improve a tax that so badly undermines economic growth.

We are particularly proud to see the elimination of the staircase tax, a victory that FSB has campaigned hard to secure over the last few months.

Now, The Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union must collectively deliver an agenda that ensures that SME businesses are encouraged to fully engage with the UK’s Industrial Strategy and as we approach “full employment”, that the business community has access to the skills and work force that they need to invest in and grow their businesses.

The East Midlands is bucking the national trend with surging growth in manufacturing and export and has emerged as the UK’s most confident region for the fourth quarter running in the latest FSB Small Business Index, standing at +30 in Q3 2017, 29 points above the UK average (+1).

However the economic outlook remains extremely troubled, with high costs of doing business and inflationary pressures hitting confidence and deteriorating productivity and growth.

New public sector headline investment will help to scale up the British Business Bank by two thirds as well as in research & development, local infrastructure, SME house-building, broadband and training.

This must now be followed by practical detail in an ambitious Industrial Strategy next week. 

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