Giving his initial reaction to the Chancellor’s Budget, Dr Adam Marshall, British Chamber of Commerce Acting Director General, said: “Business wanted a steady, workmanlike Budget, and that’s what we got. The Chancellor listened to our calls to avoid higher business taxes and costs – and indeed moved to lower them in a number of areas. He has finally taken real action to lessen the crushing burden of business rates, and sharpened incentives for entrepreneurship and investment.
“While his commitments to key business infrastructure projects are positive, the Chancellor must ensure that they move from the drawing board to speedy construction on the ground. In a softening economy, the combination of sustained infrastructure investment and lower business taxes is important to maintaining the confidence of firms across the country.”
James Sherwin-Smith, CEO of Growth Street, an SME business overdraft provider, is available for comment and analysis, and says: “As an alternative overdraft provider to SMEs and an SME ourselves we are encouraged to hear the Chancellor’s plans for a more favourable environment for small businesses, with 600,000 SMEs to be taken out of business rates whilst 250,000 firms will pay less in business rates; loopholes being closed and the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief permanently. However the Chancellor neglects to address the biggest challenge faced by the UK SMEs: Funding.
Keith Morgan, CEO of British Business Bank, said: “Today’s Budget announced that the British Business Bank will support £1bn of finance for smaller business.
“This included the creation of the £250m Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF). The region has 460,000 SMEs and the MEIF will make finance available to help them grow, with wider benefits for regional employment and prosperity. The Midlands has enormous potential to deliver for the UK economy and we look forward to working with the Local Enterprise Partnerships to establish the fund over the coming months.
“The MEIF will sit alongside the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund in providing assistance to businesses outside London and the south east. Overall this will help to increase the UK’s productivity, which remains one of the key challenges for the wider economy.”
Jim Duffy, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark said, “Reducing corporation tax to 17% by 2020 will have a transformational effect on startups and scale-ups, allowing ambitious entrepreneurs to reinvest more profits and create new jobs. Additional small business relief will ensure more small businesses pay no rates at all, which is to be applauded as we encourage people to start their own businesses and create wealth.
Removing VAT loopholes for international ecommerce businesses will help the UKs digital firms be much more competitive. Since launching in 2011, startups on board the Entrepreneurial Spark business accelerator programme have secured an accumulative turnover of over £85 million, creating 1,816 jobs across the country.
This shows just how much of an impact these small businesses have on the UK economy, and further reiterates the importance of not only supporting them but also providing them with the tools they need to scale their business on a global level.”
Anil Stocker, Co-founder and CEO of MarketInvoice, said: “The Chancellor has finally put small businesses at the core of his economic plan. For a long-time small business owners have felt ignored by the Chancellor in favour of the world’s largest multi-nationals. Today he began to redress that imbalance.
“Small businesses want real action that affects their everyday business lives in a clear and positive way. Cutting taxes on small businesses by stopping the sweetheart tax deals for large multi-nationals is the number one thing business owners wanted to see from today’s Budget, and the Chancellor has delivered.
“Helping small businesses grow should be the cornerstone of any sensible economic plan, especially as they make up 99% of all businesses. The only surprise is that it’s taken so long for the Government to take meaningful action here.”
MarketInvoice found that the Chancellor had an approval rating from small businesses of just 9% before the Budget – that is now likely to change.