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Forum of Private Business

Forum of Private Business puts Brexit clarity at the top of their Budget Wish List

18 November 2017 09:00


If the Chancellor can’t find a financial rabbit to pull out of the hat on Budget Day, the Forum of Private Business is asking him at least to make life easier for the UK’s small businesses by giving them some clarity on the post Brexit environment.

Emphasising the difference between big business, with their need to invest in structural change, and small business with their focus more simply on adapting to the new trading environment, Ian Cass, Managing Director of the Forum comments, ‘Members of the Forum simply want an indication of how the negotiations are expected to pan out, so that they can start planning and adapting. The most valuable giveaway on Budget Day for many would be a sneak preview of the Government’s target outcome of the Brexit negotiations.’

The Forum has set out its list of business requests on the Chancellor, in addition to removing some of the Brexit uncertainty, as follows:

1. Bring in legislation to ensure an equitable amount of tax is collected from the large multinationals and technology companies who currently avoid paying it and make that the priority rather than continuously squeezing small business.
2. Remove the uncertainty around EU nationals already here in the UK and confirm they are safe and secure here, Small businesses need these workers, and it’s the right thing to do.
3. Don’t reduce the dividend allowance to £2,000 for owner operators and directors. On the contrary, increase it to £10,000, which would incentivise investment in smaller start-ups, and furthermore find additional means of rewarding entrepreneurs and business builders.
4. Look at our high streets and the issues they are facing and produce a proper plan to deal with them and the vexed issue of Business Rates. Establish a working party to look at this with a 6 month reporting deadline.
5. Listen to small and micro business more rather than the larger businesses with the deeper pockets and the largest lobbying resources. Publish a clear plan as to how the small business sector will be given an equal voice.
6. Continue to build infrastructure in the north, and move some government departments like BEIS, Digital Culture, Media and Sport and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs out of London to other cities across the UK.
7. Start consulting now on ways, once Brexit is achieved, that would make it easier to do business in the UK and on a level playing field. Look at incentivising SMEs to train and up-skill workforces to drive up productivity and counter any post Brexit impact.

‘It doesn’t look as though this Budget will be a broad scale giveaway exercise, but that doesn’t mean the Chancellor’s hand is tied on making straightforward moves towards easing the burdens the small business owners who contribute so much to the county’s economy and employment prospects,’ adds Ian Cass.

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