The FSB is calling on Sajid Javid to bring forward radical interventions to address an unprecedented long-term slump in small business confidence when he publishes the 2019 Autumn Budget in November.
Writing to the Chancellor, the group calls for a major reduction in business rates bills for small firms, as thousands struggle to stay afloat amid spiralling operating costs.
FSB recommends that the Retail Discount – which allows small retailers with rateable values of up to £51,000 to claim a 33% discount on their rates bills – be increased to at least 50%, made permanent and extended to small firms operating in other sectors, including manufacturing.
It is also calling for the threshold for Small Business Rates Relief to be increased from £12,000 to at least £30,000. The threshold has remained largely static in recent years, despite the Rateable Values that determine rates bills surging in many parts of the country, particularly on high streets in large towns and cities.
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry, commented, “Small businesses have been left hamstrung by uncertainty for the past three years. We need to see the Chancellor step-up to the mark next month with measures that will reinject optimism into the small business community and enable growth. Otherwise, we’re in for a very bleak winter.
“Business rates reform must be a priority. This unfair, regressive tax – which hits firms before they’ve made their first pound in turnover, let alone profit – continues to threaten the futures of small firms all over the country. We’ve secured important business rates mitigations in the past, but now is the time for a significant reduction in small business bills.
“Fundamentally, the business rates tax serves as a disincentive to invest. You spend money on bettering your property – by installing solar panels, or improving workplaces, for example – and the next thing you know your rates bill has shot up. It’s ludicrous.”
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