The Federation of Small Businesses is calling on the government to offer more support to the UK’s SMEs.
The FSB’s key suggestions include:
- Putting a stop to annual inflation-linked increase in business rates bills set to take effect from April 2019
- Removal of an anomaly that causes small firms to lose Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) if they expand into a second premises (even if both locations are modest in size)
- Additional, targeted support for struggling high street firms with the recommendation of a £1,000 business rates discount for small shops, cafes and pubs
- ‘Meaningful’ support for sole traders following an immediate climb-down from a bid to increase Class IV NICs for the self-employed last year – and the abandonment of a pledge to end Class II NICs earlier this year
- Statutory Adoption Allowance for the self-employed
- An extension to the Start-Up period
- Reforms to the Minimum Income Floor for sole traders claiming Universal Credit
- Continuation of the New Enterprise Allowance
- Improved access to income protection insurance
- A widening of tax relief on training for sole traders – currently, the self-employed can only claim tax relief on training to increase existing skill sets, rather than to develop new ones.
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FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, commented, “For small business owners, this Budget is the Chancellor’s make or break moment.
“Warm words from the Government are welcome, but they need to translate into action. With our small retailers trying to keep their heads above water – and the self-employed community left demoralised by the failure to end Class II NICs – this is the Chancellor’s opportunity to show he really does back business.
“Brexit is naturally front of mind for many in Westminster, but it’s important to remember that small firms cite the domestic economy as its main barrier to growth. Securing the right Brexit deal is vital – so too is providing support closer to home.”
He added, “The Prime Minister’s announcement of a continued fuel duty freeze will be hugely welcomed by the millions of small businesses that rely on cars, vans and trucks to get work done. So too will the Business Secretary’s moves to end a UK late payment crisis that destroys 50,000 small firms a year.
“We want to see the Chancellor continuing in that vein – reducing the cost burdens for small businesses and recommitting to ending the scourge of poor payment practice.
“There are 5.7 million small firms in the UK. If the Chancellor wants them to continue driving economic growth then we need to see an Autumn Budget that is unequivocally pro-business.”
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