Looking ahead to next Tuesday’s Spring Statement, the Chancellor is coming under growing pressure to take a stand on the issues affecting firms.
Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman comments:
“The move to having only one big fiscal event a year is the right one. With small business confidence dropping over the last few months amid rising costs, weak economic growth and flagging consumer demand, chopping and changing the tax regime every six months is the last thing small businesses need.
“Small firms lose £5,000 and 15 working days a year to tax compliance every year on average. The complexity of the tax compliance process is a huge drain on national productivity. It’s good to see the Chancellor making things easier with only one set of tax changes every year. We now need to see a full review of the tax system that focuses on the cost of compliance to small firms.
“Small businesses have a critical role to play in delivering a successful economy post-Brexit. We shouldn’t have an environment where paperwork from HMRC threatens that success.
“The Spring Statement marks an opportunity to reinforce commitment to promises already made. That includes refunds for those hit by the unfair Staircase Tax and the abolition of Class II National Insurance Contributions.
“Equally, too many small firms are still waiting on delivery of the ‘emergency’ business rates hardship fund launched by the Chancellor at his last spring address.
“A chunk of the £300 million fund could well never reach small firms in need because councils have failed to get their houses in order. The Treasury and DCLG need to ensure that funding isn’t lost once we start the new tax year. No doubt for some small firms trying to keep their heads above water over the last 12 months, the support will now be too little too late.
“The Spring Statement is also an opportunity for the Chancellor to take a stand on the issues that matter to small firms. Carillion’s demise highlights the dangers of the pernicious supply chain bullying culture that exists among our big corporates, not least the scourge of late payments.
“The legislative changes coming down the line aimed at tackling our late payment crisis alone are not enough. What we need to see is a fundamental cultural shift across British boardrooms, with genuine consideration given to supply chain issues at the highest level day in, day out. We hope to see the Chancellor taking the lead on this next week.”
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