FSB calls on govt to support business

Wednesday 26 November 2014

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the government to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to support business ambitions and deliver investments.

FSB is asking for a reform of business rates, tax simplification, better roads and faster broadband. It says that these should be provided while the government pushes forward solid support for small businesses.

The Autumn Statement is due to be delivered by chancellor George Osborne on December 3rd 2014 and is the final one to be delivered before the general election.

FSB says that the suggestions it has put forward to be included in the Autumn Statement are necessary for strengthening and re-balancing the economic recovery. At the heart of its suggestions are small businesses, which includes limited companies and sole traders.

It has called for a fundamental reform of business rates as the doubling of small business rates relief is due to end in March 2015. With this in mind, FSB says that 384,000 small businesses may be at risk of having to face levels of rent that they are unable to pay. On top of that, 190,000 could see their rates bills double.

FSB says that this temporary doubling of relief should be extended further as the economic recovery is only just taking hold and a number of high street businesses are still struggling.

It also wants to see improvements made to the valuation and appeals system to make them less bureaucratic.

In terms of infrastructure, FSB wants to see more put into the UK's national infrastructure to make sure the UK stays competitive in the global marketplace and to ensure rebalance of the UK economy.

Regional roads, FSB says, should be a priority as it believes bottlenecks need to be addressed, particularly with 82 per cent of small businesses reliant on the road network.

It says that to stimulate growth outside London and the South East, transport links need to be improved and diversified between key Northern cities, such as Sheffield and Manchester.

National chairman of FSB John Allan said: "Businesses want an Autumn Statement that delivers stability and certainty, and provides them with incentives to grow and create employment.

"That means investing in our infrastructure to match the world's best, whether that be broadband, road, rail or air. Regional connectivity, particularly between our great cities in the North, must be improved if the region is to reach its full potential and challenge the economic prowess of London. We encourage the Chancellor to progress plans to set out how that vision might be fulfilled. Likewise, we would like to see sights set far higher on broadband connectivity to power the UK's digital economy."

While FSB says it would like to see simpler tax structures put in place, other groups have erred on the side of caution at this point. Brookson believes that the current system, ever since the scrapping of Business Entity Tests and introduction of onshore employment intermediaries legislation, is fit for purpose. With this in mind, Brookson says that it is more important for legislation to stay consistent.

By Victoria McDonnell

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