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05 December 2013

Chancellor delivers help for small firms

Reference number: PR 2013 61

FSB News Release
PR 2013 61

 
Issue date: Thursday 5 December 2013
 
Chancellor delivers help for small firms, says FSB
 
Responding to the Chancellor''s Autumn Statement, delivered today the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said it builds on economic growth and will provide real help for small firms'' overheads through action on business rates and fuel duty.
 
John Allan, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said:
 
"Today''s Autumn Statement represents steady progress, with a range of announcements that address members'' concerns in the cost of doing business, with action on business rates and confirmation that next year''s fuel duty rise will be cancelled.
 
"The statement is a sobering reminder about the scale of the deficit the country faces and the tough choices which need to be made.  We therefore welcome the use of what spare resources the Chancellor could find to focus tax cuts on encouraging firms to take on younger workers, which must be an overriding priority." 
 
Commenting on specific measures, John Allan continued:
 
Business rates:
"Action on business rates was the top priority for our members, and the Chancellor has addressed some of their concerns in the Autumn Statement.  Too many businesses suffer from yearly price rises so capping business rates increases is a welcome measure. With around 300,000 firms relying on 100 per cent rates relief, extending the doubling of small business rates relief will be welcomed by many. 
 
"Relaxing business rates for those firms that want to expand and incentivising new businesses into empty properties on the high street will boost retail and town centres Retailers on struggling high streets will be especially heartened by the additional £1,000 relief.
 
"The commitment to clearing the appeals backlog and reviewing the system is a major step forward. What remains outstanding is a fundamental reform of business rates, which we will continue to press for." 
 
National Insurance Contributions cut for under-21s:
"Youth unemployment is a deep concern – particularly those out of work for more than 12 months. Evidence suggests the longer a young person is out of work or training, the harder it is for them to secure a job.
 
"This surprise tax cut is recognition that extra efforts are needed to get young people into employment. This should be coupled with improving the education system to ensure that all young people hold the functional and soft skills necessary to succeed in today''s tough jobs market. 
 
"We look forward to seeing further details to understand how small and micro businesses might benefit, including how this links with the Employment Allowance which comes into force next April." 
 
Skills:

"We welcome the principle of direct employer funding of apprenticeships. We have said Government needs to take its time with reforms to make sure it gets it right first time. It also needs to seriously consider how to make the transition smooth and keep small businesses engaged.
 
"Further consultation on proposals is needed because as it stands the proposed system could alienate the smallest firms from taking on an apprentice, at a time the Government is looking for more engagement.
 
"In particular many micro and small businesses will be put off engaging if the costs significantly increase. To keep participation rates up, it''s vital to consider how to make sure their costs don''t increase. Added to which the system must be easy to use and not expect upfront payments before the business can recover the Government contribution.
 
"The commitment to expand higher apprenticeships will help more and more young people think about this as a route into a career that leads them right to the top of business."

 

ENDS

 
Notes to Editors
 
ISDN facilities are available for broadcast media interviews
 
1. The FSB''s reaction above is an immediate response to the Chancellor''s Autumn Statement 2013. Detailed examination of the accompanying report will be required before changes affecting small businesses can be fully evaluated.
 
2. Announcements relating to central taxation (income tax, national insurance, corporation tax etc) as well as matters of employment law (not Northern Ireland) and financial services regulation apply to all parts of the UK.  Announcements relating to most other matters, including business rates, apprenticeships, transport and business support, only apply to England.
 
3. The FSB is the UK''s leading business organisation with around 200,000 members. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the UK''s Real-Life Entrepreneurs, and all those who run their own business. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk

ISDN is available for media interviews and Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, is available for interviews from College Green or Millbank

 
FSB media contacts
 
Liesl Smith: 020 7592 8128 / 07917 628926 liesl.smith@fsb.org.uk
Sara Crane: 020 7592 8113 / 07595 067068 sara.crane@fsb.org.uk
James Gribben: 020 7592 8121 / 07854 987974 james.gribben@fsb.org.uk
Lucy Bell-Reeves: 020 7592 8116 / 07595 801773 lucy.bell-reeves@fsb.org.uk

For regional FSB contacts please go to www.fsb.org.uk/regions