With figures showing SME confidence is down to a level almost on par with the second Covid lockdown, the Chancellor is being urged to bring forward bold measures.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have set out measures in its Budget submission to secure recovery, support the UK’s small businesses and restore the labour market.
The FSB is calling on the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, to create a Budget that drives economic growth, fosters a business-friendly environment, and creates job opportunities to support a UK-wide recovery.
Some of the FSB proposals include:
- Measures to boost entrepreneurship and help SMEs, such as increasing employers’ Employment Allowance in line with the National Living Wage and tackling the UK’s late payment culture.
- Improving the UK’s flagging labour market participation rates, including a new Kickstart-style job scheme for those whose health problems have kept them out of work for a long time, increasing tax-free childcare to £3,000 and more help for over 50s employment.
- A delay to the government’s decision to slash Research & Development (R&D) tax relief.
- Ensure small businesses can access energy efficiency technologies.
- Increase training levels, including scrapping the rule that self-employed workers aren’t allowed to deduct training that will help them to expand their businesses.
FSB Policy Chair Tina McKenzie, commented, “We need to see a strong agenda for growth. The problem facing the Conservative Government is the economic clock is ticking as much as the electoral one.
“There are far too many necessary steps for promoting economic growth that are now urgent. The Chancellor has to make significant strides on multiple areas of policy at once to deliver returns that people notice and lead to strong growth.
“There have been very encouraging signs that Jeremy Hunt ‘gets it’ – the Budget is make or break to see if he can turn words into action. The Chancellor’s Bloomberg speech showed a lot of promise, and you can tell he is a former entrepreneur himself. The fact there are lots of economic challenges, means that there is huge opportunity for action.
“Hopefully, there is a recognition in Government that too many initiatives of the past have ignored the small businesses that make up such a large chunk of UK firms, and that we need to focus on small firms when making economic policy.
“We need to help people back to work, get more entrepreneurs starting businesses, tackle inefficiencies in our energy use, and favour challenger businesses when it comes to R&D.
“It is time to be bold and show grip.”
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