Commenting on the implications of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement for Wales’ small businesses and the self-employed, Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) Wales Policy Chair, Ben Francis, said: “The action the Chancellor has taken today responds to both the concerns and ambitions of Wales’ small businesses. We welcome the fact that the Chancellor has listened to the calls made by FSB to take action on the scourge of late payments, extend support for businesses in our high streets and provide much-needed help for the self-employed.
On Business Rates
Business rates are one of the most significant single costs facing smaller businesses and the disproportionate burden of business rates disincentivises growth among smaller businesses on the high street at a time when revitalising those high streets and reinforcing our communities should be a priority for Welsh Government.
The extension of business rate support for hard-pressed retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England generates consequential funding for Wales. In the coming Welsh Government Draft Budget, small businesses in Wales will expect to see that support replicated with the extension of Welsh Government’s own support scheme, a call FSB has recently made to the Minister for Finance, Rebecca Evans.
On late payment
We’re pleased to see the Chancellor has listened to our calls by condemning poor payment practices and announcing a clamp down on late payments. Enshrining prompt payment practices for Government contract bidders is not only the right thing to do –it will also lessen the stress and strain many small business owners face, while giving them the headroom to invest in their own businesses.
We look forward to working with governments both in Westminster and Wales to ensure we drive out bad payment practices, ensuring businesses are paid on time and that they can confidently supply to public and private customers.
Additionally, we’re pleased to see the Chancellor listen to our calls regarding the self-employed. The decision to reduce the rate of self-employed National Insurance and abolish the Class II element will go some way to ease the burden on the entrepreneurs and self-starters we want to encourage in Wales.
Overall, it’s been good to hear today that the chancellor has listened to FSB’s calls, and thereby to Wales’ small firms.
We welcome the announcement of an Investment Zone covering Wrexham and Flintshire. While there is much detail which will yet be needed on how this will look, it gives the opportunity to create and build on our regional economic strengths in that area and understand how that can be used to grow innovative and ambitious smaller businesses and supply chains. We look forward to working with partners in government and industry for this new zone.