Time Finance has joined the charge to protect small businesses with a caution that the Government must focus on measures to accelerate SME growth in the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget on Wednesday 27 October.
Ed Rimmer, Chief Executive Officer at Time Finance, comments: “We have seen some incredible signs of recovery and growth amongst our clients, the majority of whom have come out of the pandemic fighting. They are investing for growth, expanding their workforce, and investing in new products and services; all of that will be put in jeopardy if the Government does not put the correct systems in place. SMEs make up 99% of the UK’s business community and account for half of the turnover of the UK private sector; they create jobs and wealth and so their contributions to the economy are extremely valuable. Putting them at risk would also put the UK’s economic recovery at risk.
“The survival of small businesses and our continued economic recovery relies on two vital measures in the Chancellor’s Budget. First and foremost, the Government must make a pledge to safeguard taxes on small businesses. We don’t expect to see further changes to Corporation Tax; they would be unnecessary given the recent tax changes that are paying back into the treasury. I would also hope to see an extension to the retail rates relief to help the sector get back on its feet. The Uniform Business Rate is set to increase for 2022/23 in-line with the Consumer Price Index’s headline inflation of 3.1% for September, so revenue from business rates will grow. In my view that is reason enough to continue to give relief to those that need it most.
“Secondly, the Government must invest in skills training. The ONS recently reported that UK job vacancies were at a 20-year high, standing at 1.1 million with workforce shortages hitting construction and manufacturing the hardest. The Government needs to address this urgently and ensure its National Skills Fund fills the gaps in talent supply, caters to the areas of greatest need and furthermore, that it feeds directly into the recruitment needs of the business community.
“I don’t think any of us envy the task at hand for the Chancellor. Rebuilding the public finances will require a lot of tough decisions but there are some good signs of recovery. This will undoubtedly be aided by the recent agreement reached by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to implement a global minimum corporation tax rate of 15%. This is good news received with caution; the Government must now look at its own legislation to ensure there are no loopholes under this new threshold. There has also been rumour that the new threshold could result in the loss of the relatively new digital service tax, a valuable revenue stream that the Government should safeguard. There is no question that a lot has been done to support the 6 million SMEs in the UK over the past 18 months. Now is no time to undo that great work.”