Small businesses in the UK have urged Chancellor Rishi Sunak to make sure that the positive measures announced in his Economic Statement earlier this week (8 July), work well for all small firms, and quickly, and call again for support for the newly self-employed and company directors.
FSB welcomed the measures announced but stressed that they must be kept under review to make sure they deliver for small businesses and that still more may need to be done before the autumn. Additionally, there must be support for those who are still falling between the cracks.
FSB National Chair Mike Cherry said: “Whilst the majority of small businesses have been supported by the Chancellor’s emergency measures, some have not. We need the Government to spell out how it will help the newly self-employed and company directors who have once again been overlooked this afternoon, and have now been left without help for more than 100 days during this incredibly difficult period. That fact should be recognised once we reach the autumn.”
He went on to say “The Chancellor is absolutely right to stress that the job of getting the economy back on its feet has only just begun. We said that the Chancellor should take a jobs first approach to today’s intervention and that’s exactly what he’s done.
“However, will this set of measures be enough to spur activity over the coming weeks? That’s something that will need to be kept under close review – we may need further action before the autumn.”
He warned that the newly announced a job retention bonus must be easy to access, saying: “We can’t have paperwork holding up this vital support.”
Kickstarter, traineeships and apprenticeships
Ahead of the statement, FSB had also pushed for funding and subsidies for apprenticeships and traineeships and said it was pleased that the incentives it asked for to take on apprentices in England had been delivered. It said that these, alongside the new measures for kickstarter roles and traineeships also need to be accessible for small businesses quickly.
Tax cuts and targeted support
Rishi Sunak also announced a VAT cut for food, accommodation and attraction businesses alongside the ‘eat out to help out’ initiative. Mike Cherry responded to this by saying:
“This VAT cut marks a critical step forward, and we look forward to collaborating with policymakers on the new ‘eat out to help out’ initiative to ensure that those who are deserving don’t miss out. The Treasury should now assess how it can build on this progress, taking another look at our regressive business rates system once we get to the autumn.”
FSB said that the focus on green jobs and infrastructure was encouraging to see. Making small firms a central part this push will be critical to its success and local growth. Mike Cherry said, “We need to know that green vouchers and incentives will be extended to small business premises as well as to households.”