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Budget 2017 (3): Continued pressure on small firms and self-employed
by Susie Hughes at 21:52 08/03/17 (Political News)
The Forum of Private Business has given the Chancellor four out of 10 for his Budget announcements, with a warning that continued pressure on small businesses and the self-employed is short sighted as we look to get Britain trading again.
While it says that moving towards an equalisation of tax treatment for the employed, self employed and unincorporated businesses is on the face of it understandable. The Forum will however be lobbying for incentives to be retained for the small businesses, as well as pushing for additional simplification of the tax rules.

Ian Cass, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business said: “If there are no incentives for small businesses this would lead to fewer people taking the plunge into self-employment and job creation, and opting simply to be employed.

“That would be bad news both for the UK economy and for the jobs market.

“The immediate National Insurance changes announced will already have some prospective small businesses and small employers thinking twice.”

Unwelcome move on Dividend tax
The increase in Dividend Tax is also an unwelcome move.

Ian Cass said: “Business owners are already facing increased costs from auto-enrolment, digital tax, and business rate increases. Combined these will have a negative impact on profits. Increasing the tax rate on dividends for business owners is just another blow to the UK’s risk taking entrepreneurs. These are the very people who create growth and employment, and continuing to increase both regulatory and tax burdens on them while removing rewards is hardly smart.

"We need to ensure any changes do not unfairly impact small businesses, whilst big businesses employ expensive lawyers to circumvent new rules."

Technology sector
On the positive side, the allocation of funding to the technology sector and the focus on skills wins favour with the Forum.

Mr Cass said: “Skills and support for new technologies are both on the Forum’s wish list but we need to see the funding for both spread evenly over the country as part of a countrywide growth strategy. We will be working with the Government to help policy makers understand what skills are needed by businesses, and to focus their spend in the right direction.

“For small business owners, there are more negatives than positives in this Budget. With the uncertainties of Brexit, businesses were looking for a sympathetic ear. Those with increased business rates in the South and London might have been heard, but most small business owners will be unimpressed with the Chancellor’s lack of commitment to the high street, and hard working family businesses.

“This government continues to neglect the small business sector at a time when they need them, to help get Britain trading more productively.

“They do so at their peril.”

Further information
Shout99 will continue coverage of the stories emerging from the Budget; in the announcements after the Budget; and expert comment and analysis in the Political News section of Shout99.

Alerts also available through our Twitter feed.

If you wish to comment on this article, please log in and use the Reply button below. Registering is free and easy - see 'Join Shout99'.
Susie Hughes © Shout99 2017

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