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While latest ONS figures show that GDP rose in November, SMEs are more focussed on the fact that the costs of running a business are now significantly high.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that GDP rose by 0.3% in November 2023 compared to the previous month, as Black Friday resulted in more customers seeking out the latest sales.

However, while increased retail trade growth led to somewhat higher consumption, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) says that there are still many concerns for UK SMEs.

Martin McTague, National Chair of the FSB, explained, “Small businesses are still in the thick of it with this modest rise in GDP in November, which indicates an economy still bouncing along the bottom.

“Increased retail trade growth induced by Black Friday led to somewhat higher consumption in November as customers sought sales. But that doesn’t take away the core problem: the costs of running a business are now markedly up.

“High base rates have led to subdued consumer demand, greater costs of finance and soaring rent. Employment costs remain challenging due to labour shortages, impending rises in the National Living Wage and forthcoming changes to pensions legislation.”

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Martin added, “With growth volatile and the lingering threat of a recession, this is not the time for celebration. Small businesses are looking for all sorts of ways to get through this challenging time.

“Uplifts in the Employment Allowance to cope with rising labour costs; lifting the VAT threshold to £100,000 to unleash economic potential; Tax-free shopping to attract high-spending international visitors back to our retail and hospitality sectors – all of these would help spur economic growth.

“Government did the right thing taking a stand against late payers in the Autumn Statement. Now, we want to see actions apply to the private sector to stop the growing prevalence of late payments.

“Small businesses are a resilient bunch and will throw everything they have at attempts to keep going before having to call it a day. They are the main engine for economic growth – something the Government and all political parties across the UK should keep in mind as we head towards election year.”

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With over 25 years experience in contractor accountancy helping thousands of contractors, freelancers and the self employed, Dolan Accountancy has the specialist skills, reputation and credibility you can trust.

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