Responding to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s speech concerning his Winter Economic Plan, FSB Wales Policy Chair, Ben Francis, said:
“There are many measures to welcome here that will make a real difference to Welsh businesses that have worked incredibly hard to keep afloat during the course of the pandemic. It’s particularly encouraging to see that all small businesses will be able to access the new job support scheme without facing excessive paperwork, with a guarantee of help for the next six months.
“News of the ‘Pay as You Grow’ approach will mean relief for hundreds of thousands of firms, giving them the confidence to invest and hire today rather than tomorrow, providing a crucial option to suspend repayments for six months. FSB called for an extension to the deadline for emergency finance facilities and that extension has rightly been delivered today. The assurance on credit ratings will be hugely welcomed by many worried small business owners.
“On the tax side, the greater space being promised on deferrals and the maintenance of the 5% VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sectors are much needed, promising to shore-up demand for firms that are especially struggling. The extended deadlines for deferrals of VAT and self-assessment tax bills will help avoid cliff-edges in the future.
“We look forward to more details on the successor to the self-employment income support scheme. It’s right to provide support to the self-employed equivalent to that offered to employees, and the scheme should be opened up to those excluded from the first round of support measures.
“We are concerned that the Chancellor had nothing to say today on support for those who were left out of the first round of support measures, not least some sectors of the self-employed community and company directors. The Government urgently needs to come forward with an emergency relief package for these groups which have dutifully paid their taxes and deserve help too.
“For those businesses that are experiencing difficulties in trading because of local lockdowns, we would urge Welsh Government to come forward with a Rapid Reaction Business Fund in order to support these firms through more disruption and turbulence which could have a disastrous impact on the business.”