I read about the recent survey from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) warning that confidence amongst SMEs is currently running at its lowest level since 2013. Fortunately, in the March Budget, the Chancellor gave small and medium-sized enterprises the biggest share of hand-outs. Exemption from business rates for large numbers of firms, concessions on capital gains tax, lower fuel duty and cuts to come in corporation tax, which will all be welcomed.
The question now is whether this support will be enough to persuade small businesses that their future is looking brighter The slowing domestic economy is part of the picture, but small businesses are in the middle of complying with the auto-enrolment pension rules. Also, they’re being hit by the launch of the national living wage and new regulations on quarterly tax reporting, which are around the corner. You can also add fears about Brexit to some of their concerns.
All of this emphasises to me why support and advice for small businesses from their accountant is so crucial, even if a good chunk of the budget help won’t be immediately available – e.g. 17 per cent rate of corporation tax isn’t due to arrive until 2020.
I see the Budget as a bit of a rescue package for small businesses. The Chancellor appears to have felt prepared to ease up on the SME sector that is experiencing difficult times.
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