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23 November 2017

FSB responds to ‘Business-friendly Budget in challenging times’

Phil McCabe, Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses in Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan, said:

“Overall, this should be seen as a business-friendly budget in challenging times.

“Measures on tax will boost confidence across the small business community as they face up to tough trading conditions. The staircase tax has been scrapped, something we campaigned for, and we welcome further support on fuel duty and business rates, a thorn in the side of many small firms.

“In addition, the Government has responded to our efforts to see off a VAT tax grab that would have caused huge economic damage. Of course, we need to go even further and FSB is ready to work with the Treasury to simplify an over-complicated tax that on average takes a business a whole week to administer every year.

“Aside from tax the measures on training and skills, particularly digital and maths, technology investment and sector-focused support for pubs are all welcome.

“The Government’s commitment to rebalancing the economy and the Northern Powerhouse is good news, including a £1.7bn transforming cities fund, in particular to deliver local transport projects, some of which were mentioned by name in the Chancellor’s speech. However, it remains to be seen in the finer detail of the Budget whether vital future funding for local Growth Hubs, set up by Local Enterprise Partnerships to coordinate and deliver business support, will be confirmed.” 

Phil McCabe concluded: “The economic outlook remains extremely troubled, with high costs of doing business and inflationary pressures hitting confidence and deteriorating productivity and growth. New public sector headline investment will help, to scale-up the British Business Bank by two thirds as well as in research & development, local infrastructure, SME house-building, broadband and training. This must now be followed by practical detail in an ambitious Industrial Strategy next week.”