Chancellor Sajid Javid yesterday announced that this year’s Budget, which had been postponed ahead of the December election, will now be held on 11 March, in which the Chancellor will outline his and the Government’s plans for fiscal policy in the next year.
While many will be looking to the Budget’s announcements on personal tax and infrastructure investment, a significant sector of society will be watching to discover what – if any – extra support will be promised to small businesses, a sector key to both economic growth and employment in the UK.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) make up over 98% of all private sector firms across the UK. They also account for 16 million jobs in the UK, while adding £1.9 trillion to the British economy.
So what do SMEs want to see from the March budget?
Late Payments are an issue that is especially damaging in the SME arena, about 50,000 small businesses go under every year because of late payments. While countless more have their growth stunted by a lack of certainty around their cash-flow and incoming payments. Small businesses will be desperate to see Sajid Javid propose a solution to this issue – whether that be through legislation or otherwise. This problem has persisted for far too long and the former small business commissioner has previously questioned the Government’s commitment to tackling the issue.
Business Rates reform has been a key part of both Conservative campaigning and the Queen’s speech. Simplifying what has become a complicated, and some say unfair, tax could give struggling small business – especially on the high street – a much needed boost.
Access to Funding is one of the biggest barriers to growth and scale for small businesses in the UK. Entrepreneurs are hugely ambitious in terms of their determination to grow and employ more people, but many find it difficult to secure the investment needed to facilitate their goals. The Enterprise Investment Scheme has provided nearly £20billion of funding to SMEs that otherwise would be without support, and the Conservative manifesto referred to Seed EIS and EIS as being ‘spectacularly successful’. Many entrepreneurs – or prospective business founders – will hope to see EIS given increased scope or support to help businesses receive vital growth finance.
Red Tape and Regulation are issues that many small business owners identify as damaging to their firms. This is applies in regard to both UK and EU regulation with a myriad of SMEs looking to export their goods and services but unable to do so due to the difficulty in applying for and receiving approval. Simplification and help for businesses to export more easily could help the UK economy become more globally facing than ever before, something that will be key to a more connected future.
IW Capital is keen to help SMEs that need assistance to plan for the future and find the right kind of investment in order to help them reach the next level.