Yesterday saw Chancellor George Osborne’s much-awaited Autumn Statement, and with it a return to some ‘tried and tested’ tools designed to help boost SMEs.
The ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) considered the measures to be similar to past efforts which haven’t always proven to be successful.
Below the SBF blog runs down some of the key announcements and discusses the net effect on SMEs:
Headline news from the statement included the scrapping of the fuel price rise due to occur in January, welcome news for all SMEs and particularly those based in the Transport and Logistics sector.
Business rate holidays for small businesses are to be extended for another six months from October 2012, easing taxation pressures in the midterm.
Mid-sized businesses also looked set to benefit from the government’s reforms, in an attempt to emulate Germany’s Mittelstand sector, which has kept their economy going during the eurozone crisis. £10 million has been set aside for the UK export industry for up to 500 midsized businesses, together with a further £35 million designed to double the number of smaller businesses supported by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).
Although the scrapping of the fuel price rise in January was welcomed by all, it doesn’t prevent another fuel duty rise coming into play later on in 2012, which could come at an unwelcome time for many companies who might be taking strides in the right direction at this point towards growth and prosperity.
Micro businesses were worrying left out by the Chancellor, as most of the beneficial measures were targeted towards mid-sized businesses. Given the make-up of the UK’s economy, there will still be a significant amount of firms seeing no measurable benefits from the Statement.
The Forum of Private Business’ (FPB) Chief Executive summed up the statement, "The Chancellor has taken some steps in the right direction but he could have made much bolder strides to get Britain trading by providing more support for the smallest businesses."