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Autumn Statement must put UK small businesses at the heart of reforms

Posted on 26 November 2012

Autumn Statement must put UK small businesses at the heart of reforms, says the FSB

 

FSB calling for:

 

Increased competition in the banking sector to provide finance to small firms by setting out plans for a Small Business Bank

Reform of the labour market and an extension to the National Insurance Contributions Holiday scheme

A simplified tax system and the planned 3p fuel duty rise scrapped

 

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the Chancellor
to use his Autumn Statement to put a firm plan in place for small firms
to grow, which can be fully delivered at Budget 2013.

 

The FSB has long called for more competition in the banking sector
as small firms continue to struggle to access finance. The Chancellor
should provide more details of the Business Bank, including a clear road
map for its creation, and how this will increase competition in the
small business finance market. The FSB believes this could be the
stepping stone to creating a Small Business Administration (SBA),
similar to that in operation in the USA since 1953.

 

Putting an authority like the SBA in place, which is dedicated to
promoting and protecting the needs of small businesses, will help to
instil the stability and consistency which has been lacking in policy
delivery.

 

To instil confidence, the FSB also wants the planned 3p per litre
fuel duty increase due in the New Year to be scrapped. This will help
relieve the pressure on tight finances of both businesses and
households, especially as utility prices have increased.

 

In addition the FSB is also calling for:

 

The regional National Insurance Contributions (NICs) holiday
extended to all micro businesses across the whole of the UK. With around
nine in 10 small firms responsible for taking on the long term
unemployed over the last 15 years, this would help embed recent good
news on growth and the reduction in unemployment. FSB research shows
that extending the scheme would create around 45,000 jobs and add £1.3
billion to GDP.

Government to press ahead with simplifying the tax system for
millions of small businesses by allowing those that have a turnover of
less than £77,000 to move to cash-based accounting. 
• Government to
develop tax impact assessments using the same principles as other
Government department regulation – independent scrutiny, transparency
and simplicity – as research shows that nearly 50 per cent of small
firms say tax administration is the biggest area of compliance.

An Internet Service Provider to have a universal service obligation
to provide broadband across the whole of the country. This will help to
get much-needed broadband access into rural areas that current
commercial providers don't believe are profitable, enabling businesses
in those areas to grow.

 

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:

 

"This is a very important statement from the Chancellor. At the
half-way point of the Parliament, the Government will be judged on its
actions. There is no argument that they've had a tough economic backdrop
to work with, but small firms are still feeling the pressure, so need a
clear plan for growth to get them back on track is needed.

 

"Small business policymaking has been subject to a range of
confusing patchwork approaches that have often had minimal impact on the
ground. We want to see a clear plan of action from the Chancellor which
he can take forward to Budget 2013, which will detail the long-term
support small firms need.  Key to this is going to be the small business
bank and eventually how it can become the Small Business Administration
supporting small businesses over the long-term."