Telling the truth about SME life today

Entrepreneurs disappointed by weak Budget for business

Rhodri Ferrier is the co-founder of men’s natural grooming brand Bulldog, which will turn over between £1.5m and £2m this year. He says: “The terrifying debt figures made us feel incredibly pessimistic about the state of the economy. I’m still optimistic about my business but there’s nothing in the budget to make us feel optimistic the government has a handle on the financial crisis.

"There’s nothing for small business and entrepreneurs; what we’d have liked to have seen is practical help.”

Ferrier also believes it’s a “fantasy” to suggest that the economy will grow by 3.5 per cent in 2011.

Coverzones boss Simon Ball is likewise concerned about the growth figures. “They’re predicting a turnaround in terms of the end of the recession and growth before the end of this year,” he says. “It’s the first I’ve heard of that. There’s an argument that the deficit issues and the budgeting that’s been announced is based on a fundamentally false premise.”

Coverzones provides business insurance online primarily to small businesses, and Ball is concerned about the lack of Budget initiatives for his client base.  He says: “There no coordinated and concerted plan to support small businesses. Within that, you assume there’s a failure to recognise they’re going to be a fundamentally important part of the recovery as and when it comes.”

Ball would have liked to have seen measures that practically help SMEs. “It’s not hard to understand what they are,” he says. “Reductions in PAYE and National Insurance contributions, greater flexibility and less red tape to make it easier to bring people on board.

“Instead, there’s additional fuel duty, which will hurt some businesses, and the people who are earning more than £150k will have to pay. I’m not convinced this is the Budget to get us out of the recession. We’ve got people running the country who are out of touch, bankrupt in ideas and desperate in their desire to please.”

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