SMEs reveal Budget wishlist

Tuesday 17 March 2015

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have discussed the kinds of things they would like to see included in the upcoming Budget and it seems that tax relief and late payments support have topped the list.

The wishlist was uncovered in a YouGov survey in collaboration with Flexioffices ahead of the Budget on March 18th. Results were ranked in order of demand and suggest key issues that the government could address in order to help small firms, limited companies and sole traders.

A total of 818 senior decision makers from businesses employing fewer than 50 people were questioned as part of the survey. Fieldwork was done between February 16th and 20th 2015 and the survey was completed online.

Top of the list was further corporation tax relief for small firms and people setting up a business. This was chosen by 20 per cent of senior decision makers in small firms, who would like to see corporation tax breaks for small businesses. Most respondents came from businesses with a turnover of less than £1 million. This falls in line with anecdotal commentary from survey respondents that said they would like to see business rates completely abolished for firms with turnover of less than £800,000.

More straightforward tax was the second most called for subject for the Budget among small firms, with 19 per cent saying that they would like to see the issue of tax returns tackled by HMRC. The majority of respondents who voted for this worked in finance and accounting.

Third on the list was late payment support. Eleven per cent of respondents said that they would like to see more support for small firms in dealing with late payments through stronger penalties being delivered as a result. In particular, they wanted to see these penalties given to large organisations that pay late. The highest portion of respondents calling for this came from the north-west of England.

Nine per cent of respondents said they would like to see the government implement business specific tax rates. Although small businesses are taxed the same across the UK, some believe that it would be better if tax was based on turnover, profit and other key metrics, such as employee numbers.

Other issues that made up the list of nine points recorded in survey included more government support for UK exporters, facilitation of easier access to finance, and reallocation unemployment benefits to people who are self employed or growing a small business.

Commenting on the results, managing director of Flexioffices Paul Slinn said: "We deal with thousands of small businesses every year and regularly see the impact of Government decisions on overall business success. In my opinion, the survey results show a demand from small business decision makers for a more level playing field - one where SMEs get the support they need to prosper and compete with larger organisations."

The Budget is set to be delivered on Wednesday March 18th by chancellor George Osborne. It is to be his last Budget before the general election in May.

By Victoria McDonnell

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