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Queen’s speech 2019: An SME outlook

5 min read

20 December 2019

What can SMEs takeaway from her majesty speech to both Houses of Parliament this morning?

It was just last week that Borris Johnson was elected as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Continuing the Tory reign in Britain.

Since then the natural concerns surrounding Brexit or the future of the NHS have been raised, with many fearing that a swift exit from the EU, may not be delivered as promised.

In almost, a bid to offer some guidance and direction following what has been a rocky year for the British government, her Majesty the Queen addressed both houses of parliament this morning. The speech, of course, included the expected comments regarding building a relationship with Europe and the current climate crisis.

But as the government promised to “make Britain the best country in the world to start and grow a business” what can you as an SME expect to see change?

Re-affirmation of Johnson’s Promise?

PM Johnson, promised to let small businesses “focus on what they do best – spurring innovation, creating jobs, stimulating growth”, and it seems like this mantra has continued with government plans to “increase tax credits for research and development”.

“We are delighted to hear Her Majesty specifically mention R&D Tax Credits in her speech this morning and that our new Government has committed to increasing R&D tax credits to help innovative businesses thrive,” said Sarah Collins, Director of RIFT Research and Development.

While R&D tax credit regime remains lesser known that SEIS and  Entrepreneur’s Tax Relief, it is a vital crutch for startups in gaining much-needed support.

What about the self-employed?

It was also revealed that the government had  promised to “clamp down on late payment more broadly and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner to support small businesses that are exploited by their larger partners.”

“Late payment is the scourge of freelancers everywhere, and we have been calling for some time for the Small Business Commissioner to be given more powers to amend this issue” adds Simon McVicker, Director of Policy at IPSE. “We will be pushing for these powers to include naming and shaming and even fining for the worst offenders ” he continues to say.

It is estimated that SMEs are owed £39.4bn as a result of late payments, effecting their annual cash flow greatly.

Plan for the future

The Queen’s speech continued to highlight support for the self-employed when she addressed governments plans to “support pension saving in the 21st century and create a legislative framework for the introduction of a pensions dashboard.

Such a development will allow freelancers to keep track of their pensions and bring together their different saving funds in one place.

High street salvation?

2019 saw a continues slew of headlines regarding the death of the British high street. However, that could be set to change with the government promising to cut business rates in a bid to resurrect the city streets.

Discounts for small businesses are expected to increase from 33% to 50%, with around half a million shops, restaurants and pubs set to benefit.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said: “We want to reinvigorate communities up and down our great country, helping people put the heart back into the places they call home. That’s why we’re taking action to save our high streets and keep pubs, cafes and hairdressers open by slashing their business rate bills by half.”

“Businesses will breath a sigh of relief as the Government has today listened to their needs. The business rate review and reduction in rates will provide a lifeline for the small shops on our high street and rejuvenate local communities right across the UK adds Lisa Jacobs, UK Managing Director at Funding Circle.”

The tax break, which applies to all businesses with a rateable value below £51,000, will come into force in April, providing savings of up to £12,500.

A budget in March will announce a review of the whole rates regime.