Moves on business rates and other taxes welcome but fall short of what is needed to significantly boost businesses and the economy
Yvette Hastings, FSB Area Leader for Cheshire, has responded to today’s Autumn Budget announcement by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.
She welcomed the announcement of tax reforms and additional business rates reliefs, including for R and D, investment in green technology, business improvements and investment and specifically for retail and leisure firms, but argued they do not go far enough to drive small business recovery and growth.
Yvette Hastings, FSB Area Leader for Cheshire, said: “Tax reform to support shipping will be well-received but far too few small businesses are involved in international trade in the first place, and that needs to change.
“The additional business rates reliefs – including for hard-hit retail and leisure firms – alongside cancellation of an increase in the rates multiplier are of course welcome for Cheshire and Warrington’s firms and our visitor economy. It is pleasing that the Government has taken heed of the FSB’s concerns in the area of business rates reform, but it must go further.
“For example, the Chancellor has not expanded the National Insurance Employment Allowance as we requested, meaning that just 640,000 small businesses will receive full protection from the imminent Employer NI hike – a mere 10.5% of the small business community – which is compounded by an increase in dividends taxation.
Employment and skills
“Getting skills right is critical for improving productivity, boosting businesses and the lives of our people. The announcements on expanding T-Levels, upgrading FE colleges and significantly increasing funding for apprenticeships placements are encouraging steps in the right direction, as is the new focus on improving numeracy. Many businesses are currently struggling to fill vacancies in sectors like hospitality and this will help by expanding the potential pool of those eligible. After being equipped with these vital skills, we know small employers are excellent at providing local opportunities and further upskilling.
“With funding being distributed through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), it’s critical that small firms are at the front and centre of this, with a specific focus on businesses based in areas that need levelling up. Policymakers must realise the ambitions of business owners in these areas. Providing the right support here will really ramp up productivity. It’s important that each part of the UK at least maintains previous levels of business support funding under the UKSPF when further details are announced.
“In short – some promising developments but, against a backdrop of spiralling costs, supply chain disruption and labour shortages, this Budget is not enough to meet the Government’s ambition for a high-growth, high-productivity, high-wage, low-tax economy. It is a missed opportunity to place small businesses front and centre of the Government’s recovery and growth plans.”