The 2013 Budget is being announced on Wednesday, 20 March, and one organisation that has submitted its wish list already is the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). What are they calling for? Rate relief, a different tax system, and funding, funding, funding.Some small businesses pay more in rates than they do in rent and the FSB believes Small Business Rate Relief should be made permanent in England. They are also calling for a review on how business rates are calculated, moving the indexation element from RPI to CPI in line with other areas of government policy. The organisation is also lobbying the chancellor to ensure that work to simplify the tax system is not watered down. The current proposal to allow small firms with a turnover of less than £77,000 to provide cash-based accounts is a major deregulatory step that the FSB believes will increase compliance. They would like to see existing schemes for investment relief pooled together in a simple one-stop-shop, so that small firms know where to go for capital to invest in their business. As revealed by the FSB’s latest “Voice of Small Business” index, small firms are ambitious and want to grow but consistently cite finance and access to long term capital as key barriers. The FSB is urging the chancellor to put in place a clear plan for the Business Bank, outlining the role the new institution will play in getting finance to small firms and how the bank will help boost competition and encourage non-bank sources of finance. John Allan, chairman of FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan, said: “This Budget is an opportunity to forge the tax and finance environment in which small firms can grow and thrive. It must not be missed. “Tinkering around the edges will not help. We need substantial reforms to taxation – including making business rate relief permanent and apply automatically, and speeding up the Valuation Office Agency’s deals appeals process On finance, the Business Bank must genuinely boosts competition in small business lending markets. “Along with other important steps the chancellor should take on fuel duty, late payment, energy prices, employment and skills, these pro-small business and pro-growth policies should be placed at the heart of this year’s Budget.” In addition, to help create new jobs and boost confidence, the FSB is recommending that the government:
- Cancels the 3p fuel duty rise planned for September 2013 and to initiate a full review of fuel prices and motoring taxation;
- Helps boost businesses cash-flow, by ensuring that when it is awarding contracts that its Tier 1 suppliers are signed up to the Prompt Payment Code and pay their supply chains quickly;
- Extends the money available through Start-up Loans scheme to help more people that struggle to access finance to start a business. The payback periods should also be extended;
- Directs Ofgem to mandate that energy companies cannot rollover a small business onto an un-negotiated contract for more than 30 days, down from the current period of 12 months;
- Extends the National Insurance Contributions holiday to all small firms across the UK with less than four staff, rather than just start-up businesses. This could create 45,000 new jobs and add £1.3bn to the economy.
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