Small businesses face struggle following Budget

Jessica Nangle

March 10, 2017

Small businesses will struggle to stay afloat following the Chancellor’s spring Budget, ASTL chief executive Benson Hersch has warned.

The budget saw changes to taxes for the self-employed and confirmation that business rates will be revalued in despite calls for the rates to be scrapped.

Hersch said: “The proposals could and should have gone further. Although short-term support for those hit hardest by business rate rises are welcomed, the radical, long-term changes that need to improve the system will have to wait another day. It really is a small change for a big issue.

Adrift in an age of indecision

“There is concern about how long small businesses will have to wait for the next re-evaluation, whilst many self-employed businessmen will also be affected by the increase in National Insurance contributions.”

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, agrees that small businesses will feel the pinch.

He said: The business community’s hardest-hit by this year’s business rates revaluation will breathe a little easier thanks to the Chancellor’s decision to offer a package of transitional reliefs.

“However welcome, measures that mitigate the short-term impact of business rate rises are little more than a sticking plaster. The radical changes needed to improve the broken business rates system will have to wait for another day.”

Despite having a wide high street presence, the Budget is not as big of an issue for some. The British Retailers Association (BIRA) revealed that the revaluation of business rates reduced the average bill at Amazon’s nine distribution centres by an average of 1.3%

As with Amazon, bigger businesses will be better equipped to handle the changes.

Tina Coates from Metro Bank said the impact will be minimal for her firm. She said: “As a business, we’re not heavily impacted by the forthcoming changes to business rates as we’ve only recently acquired the majority of our sites, which were valued at the time the stores were opened.

“Our range of business customers means there will be winners and losers among them, but what remains absolutely vital is getting the tax system working to support growth in a sustainable and balanced way.”

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