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Autumn Statement 2014: What small businesses want to see

While forecasts seem to suggest that the economy is picking up, we know that many of you continue to face a range of challenges from access to funding to rising business costs. Your feedback through our surveys and panels has been invaluable in helping us prepare our Autumn Statement submission to George Osborne.

 It outlines the key things you’ve told us  you’d like to hear on 3 December that would provide a much needed short-term confidence boost ahead of next May’s General Election.

We know the government still has some tough choices to make when it comes to deficit reduction, but small businesses have a vital part to play in ensuring a sustainable recovery. That’s why we’d like to see George Osborne take action to mitigate the cost impacts for the small businesses over the next year. Read on to see the highlights of our submission to the Chancellor:

Autumn Statement wish list

Dear Mr Osborne,

On 3 December our members would like to see action in the following key areas essential to improve confidence, encourage investment and make it simpler and more profitable to run a small business.

Business rates

Businesses welcomed measures from the 2013 Autumn Statement to cap the business rate increase, extend Small Business Rate Relief and offer £1,000 off business rates for high street businesses. The same should be offered in this year’s Autumn Statement. In the longer term, we ask the government invest in a new, online platform to make rate paying easier, have discounts applied automatically and facilitate easier challenges to the Valuation Office Agency.

Fuel duty

Continue the commitment to freeze fuel duty for the remainder of this Parliament.

Late payment

Ensure that councils apply interest and administration charges to late payments to any contractor automatically, without the need for a contractor to request such payment.

Tax administration

Do not authorise HMRC powers to directly debit the bank accounts of small businesses. No manner of safeguards will be strong enough for small businesses to support such powers.

Access to finance

Announce a moratorium on any new bank branch closures whilst the government explores the concept of shared bank branches and better use of Inter Bank Agency Agreements.

E-invoicing

Ask the public sector to push ahead with adoption of e-invoicing, based on the principle of systems being free to access for small businesses, which can be subsidised through future savings to government.

Exporting

Establish an export tax credit that supports investment in new export markets. Working along the lines of research and development (R&D) investment, this would support export investment by off-setting the cost against Corporation Tax.

Our policy team will be watching the Chancellors Autumn Statement speech on 3 December, the last ahead of next year’s General Election, with great interest. As well as providing live reaction on Twitter we will also be providing you with a summary of the key points affecting your business to come out of the statement.

Last reviewed 7th June 2016

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