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29 February 2016

FSB calls for Budget to back enterprise, reform business rates and simplify taxes

In its submission to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in advance of the 2016 Spring Budget Statement,the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the Government to strengthen small business confidence by clearly and consistently backing enterprise. 

Three weeks ago, the Chancellor spoke to FSB members at our Policy Conference stating he would back small business. FSB calls on Mr Osborne to use his Budget to do just that – to boost business confidence, to deliver fundamental reform of business rates and to simplify the tax system.

Mike Cherry, Policy Director for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:

“In the face of a number of emerging global and domestic pressures, small businesses are looking to the Chancellor to back them through what are set to be challenging times ahead. Many are struggling to get to grips with the cumulative impact of a series of new tax and regulatory changes that are due to hit their business.

“In this climate, it’s crucial that the Chancellor uses the Budget to reassure small firms and boost their confidence so that they invest, create jobs and drive economic growth. This means no new major challenges that drive up costs and burdens. In addition, Mr Osborne must deliver on his promises to overhaul the business rates regime and simplify the tax system.”

FSB has led the debate for fundamental reform of the non domestic rates (NDR) system. While we broadly welcome existing plans to devolve business rates receipts to local authorities, this cannot be a substitute for far reaching reform to an outdated system. Our members are looking for tangible and fundamental changes to business rates as a whole - to deliver a system that secures business contributions to local government finance that are fair, flexible, transparent and efficiently administered.

FSB keenly awaits the findings from the Office for Tax Simplification (OTS) review of small company taxation. We support this work and have ourselves commissioned EY to deliver a series of ambitious options for policymakers. Each would result in a far simpler, more user-friendly and ‘tax-payer centric’ system than at present. Together they draw on the insight that if designed optimally, will reduce costs to businesses and Government. One option we propose is to create a simplified small business tax regime centred on a single tax payment. This would provide a proxy of a business’s overall tax liability, essentially combining many taxes into one and removing the complexity of applying a number of different taxes, as is the case under the current system.

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