What do SMEs Want to see from the Autumn Statement?

4th November 2016

On 23 November Philip Hammond will deliver this year’s Autumn Statement, his first since being appointed Chancellor in the aftermath of the EU referendum result four months ago. Along with the Spring Budget, the upcoming fiscal statement represents a key event for the UK economy as the Government outlines new policies, legislative changes and core strategies for how it wants to grow the nation.

From personal savings through to corporate tax, the Autumn Statement will cover a wide range of financial issues. One of the critical topics that must be addressed is how to aid the country’s burgeoning SME talent.

There are 5.5 million small and medium sized businesses across Britain – they account for 99.9% of the country’s private sector companies. What’s more, research released this week has stated that SMEs will contribute £217 billion to the UK economy by 2020. The statistics offer a clear indication of the importance of small businesses to the long-term prospects of Britain’s private sector. However, these companies need support from the Government if they are to fulfil their potential; clear and coherent policies will help business owners develop their own growth strategy and execute it with confidence.

Supporting businesses and easing their concerns is a central part of any Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, but 2016’s iteration takes on added importance. Following the Brexit announcement, a fall in interest rates and a predicted spike in inflation, economic markets are in a state of transition – SMEs must be suitably supported through such change so they do not become conservative in their approach. As Mike Cherry, National Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: “Smaller businesses are coping with huge challenges and an uncertain economic outlook. For us to create growth and jobs, and drive productivity, we want to see the chancellor deliver an Autumn Statement that provides much-needed support for small businesses.”

For entrepreneurs to thrive, they also need the wider infrastructure to be in place. As such, initiatives such as the Northern Powerhouse, regional business hubs, and incentives that encourage investment into high-growth businesses will be key in the Chancellor’s statement.

In light of the importance of the announcement, IW Capital will be producing an in-depth report in the immediate aftermath of Hammond’s Autumn Statement in two weeks’ time. The report will examine what the statement means for the UK’s 5.5 million SMEs, as well as the nation’s investors that play such a vital role in providing growth capital to these businesses. To get exclusive access to this timely report once it is published, sign up to Access 42, our exclusive member network.

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