The Chancellor announced a number of measures to help businesses in the UK in his Autumn Statement yesterday and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said it was a step in the right direction.
At a time when business electricity prices and gas prices are increasing and businesses are struggling with high fuel bills the FSB said the Autumn Statement is a step in the right direction to help small businesses grow and create jobs.
One of the policies announced is a credit easing scheme which will make it simpler to underwrite bank loans to small businesses. Small companies with a turnover of less than £50m will qualify for the scheme.
The FSB said it was pleased to see that the Government had improved the seed enterprise investment scheme. This will provide greater relief on capital gains and income tax for those investing in small businesses. It means new businesses can avoid high street banks and find different forms of funding.
The FSB also welcomed measures to deal with increasing overheads which is of great concern to many small businesses. There will be an extension to small business rates relief which is designed to help small businesses manage their overheads.
The Chancellor also announced that the forthcoming 3p rise in fuel duty would be put off until August 2012. While the FSB said it was good news that the fuel duty increase would be delayed the problem still remained that small businesses would be hit with the rise in August. Utility Exchange reported in March that the FSB said rising fuel duty was holding back small business growth and called for a fuel duty stabiliser. The FSB has again called for such a measure to be introduced.
The National Chairman of the FSB, John Walker, said “Taken as a package, the announcements in the Autumn Statement address many of the concerns raised by small businesses and are therefore to be welcomed. The key now is for the Government to be consistent, and set to the task of translating these policy intentions into tangible actions on the ground. Targeting the rising cost of overheads is imperative to help firms weather the economic storm that could be heading our way, so measures to limit the rise in fuel prices and business rates are very welcome”.
Utility Exchange reported earlier this week that the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement would provide measures to help energy intensive industries. These businesses have been particularly hard hit by rising business gas prices and electricity bills and it’s been shown that similar industries in Germany have much lower energy bills.