Commenting on the UK Budget Statement today, Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“The budget was a bit of a mixed bag for small businesses in Wales.
“Plans to reform alcohol taxes and freeze fuel duty will be welcomed by some in business, and it’s positive the Chancellor has heeded FSB’s call to introduce investment reliefs for businesses adopting green technologies.
“However, the Chancellor could have reduced payroll taxes or taken the edge off non-domestic energy bills. An extension of the employment allowance would help alleviate the impact on businesses of the upcoming raising of National Insurance contributions.
“Local and independent firms struggling under the weight of covid debt and spiralling utility costs won’t have heard much on how this Budget will address their immediate concerns.”
On the announced ‘Levelling Up Fund’ for Wales Ben Francis said:
“Welsh small businesses will be glad of the additional support of £130m finance through the British Business Bank aimed at promoting start ups and for businesses to invest in growth and of funds earmarked for projects in Wales. Small businesses need to be at the centre of these plans, with SMEs being at the heart of local communities and economies in all areas of Wales.
“Welsh businesses particularly need support following the end of EU funding. We look forward to seeing the details to ensure that business support puts small businesses in all areas of Wales at its centre.
“UK and Welsh Governments need to work constructively together to ensure the success of any support that takes place, and that we use all the effective mechanisms available in Wales to drive success. It is vital that support helps communities across Wales to shape their needs for recovery.
On Business Rates, Ben Francis said:
“We call on Welsh Government to at least match the 50% discount on business rates for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses, after Wales’ business rates holiday comes to an end in April 2022.
“UK Government did not take up FSB’s call for more small businesses out of the business rates system, but Welsh Government can take the opportunity to raise the threshold for business rates relief to £25,000 to help Welsh businesses to recover and thrive after the pandemic.”